Who Enforces Boating Laws?
Maryland Natural Resources Police officers enforce the boating laws of Maryland. Patrol vessels can be identified by the blue emergency light, the “POLICE” identification on the side of the vessel, and the uniformed officers on board. The U.S. Coast Guard also has enforcement authority on federally controlled waters.
- Officers have the authority to stop and inspect a vessel to determine whether the vessel is properly registered, numbered, and equipped.
- On the immediate approach of a patrol vessel using a flashing blue light, a vessel operator, unless otherwise directed by the officer, must yield the right-of-way, stop their vessel, and stay in that position until the Natural Resources Police vessel has passed.
- Failure to stop and/or permit boarding or inspection may subject the operator or owner to a penalty of up to $2,000.
- An operator of a vessel may not elude or attempt to elude a police officer who gives a visual or audible signal to the operator to stop.