By Alex DeMetrick

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — You may have done it, or seen it done. A person sitting on the front of a boat, legs dangling over the water. It’s called “bow riding,” and Alex DeMetrick reports that a fatal accident involving that practice is the motivation behind new rules.

Last summer, a New Jersey family rented a pontoon boat. Their 9-year-old son was sitting on the bow when he fell off and was killed by the boat’s propeller.

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That week, Natural Resources Police cited the boat’s owner, as lawmakers move to end the practice of bow riding.

“It’s particularly even more dangerous in a pontoon situation, with the pontoon actually channels, sends you right up the middle, right into the path of the propeller,” says Sen. Jim Mathias (D-Worcester County).

The latest Coast Guard records show seven deaths in 2015 from bow riding. There were 19 injuries.

Fourteen states already prohibit the practice.

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Because changing boating laws is difficult to do in boating states like Maryland, regulations will be strengthened instead.

“We’ve worked through the regulations and we’re looking to introduce it around mid-February, in time for the boating season.”

The new regulations will be enforced by Natural Resources Police.

The family member operating the pontoon boat at the time of the accident was not charged.

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