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Summit brings NH boating groups together to chart course
GILFORD — The New Hampshire Marine Patrol wrapped up its first Marine Safety Summit on Friday with a joint message from the agency and several state boating groups: Boat safely this Memorial Day Weekend.
“The number one platform for drowning in New Hampshire is small boats,” said Bob Verdonck of Safe Boaters of New Hampshire, one of the groups participating in the summit. “And 80 percent of those who drown that way are not wearing life jackets.”
Boater safety was the theme of the summit, which marked the end of National Safe Boating Week.
Marine Patrol Lt. Tim Dunleavy said the Marine Patrol contacted several boating groups around the state, which he called key partners in keeping the state’s waterways safe. In attendance were representatives from the Marina Patrol, Safe Boaters of N.H., the Lakes Region Sail and Power Squadron, the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and the N.H. Marine Trades Association.
The summit was the first of its kind in the state, Dunleavy said.
It was designed to “open all communications between all of the groups,” he said.
The hour-long, non-public meeting in Marine Patrol headquarters Friday accomplished that goal, he said. It allowed the groups to discuss common concerns and ongoing voluntary safety programs.
The group also discussed the potential for discussions and combined efforts when dealing with issues relating to future boating-related government legislation.
The Marine Patrol hopes to hold the summit every year, and perhaps twice each year, he said.
Friday’s session was mostly a chance for group members to meet and exchange ideas. “Excuse the pun, but we all have similar ships sailing in similar directions,” said Scott Verdonck of Safe Boaters. “We found common issues today that we can work on together.”
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