Rollin on the river, or lakes, can be a real trip

September 24, 2006|by TAMELA BAKER

If an afternoon on the water is your perfect way to relax, there's plenty of water and plenty of places to float around Washington County.

The National Park Service operates a number of boat ramps along the Potomac River in Washington County, from Hancock to Dargan.

Most of these ramps are available only for smaller vessels - larger boats may use the Big Slackwater ramp off Dam No. 4 Road.

Other ramps include: Little Tonoloway, off Canal Street in Hancock; Four Locks, off Md. 56 on Four Locks Road; Taylors Landing, off Taylors Landing Road; Snyders Landing, off Md. 34 on Snyders Landing Road; Dargan Bend, off Shinham Road; and McCoy's Ferry, off Md. 56 on McCoy's Ferry Road.


The town of Williamsport also operates a Potomac River boat ramp at River Bottom Park off Salisbury Street.

If lakes are more to your liking, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources permits small vessels at three lakes in Washington County. For motorized vessels, only electric motors are permitted on these lakes.

Boating is available in the western portion of the county at Blairs Valley Lake in the Indian Springs Wildlife Management Area on Blairs Valley Road, and in Big Pool at Fort Frederick State Park off Md. 56.

In eastern Washington County, boating is available at Greenbrier Lake State Park on U.S. 40.

Boating is regulated in Maryland by the Department of Natural Resources. Boats must be registered if they are equipped with any kind of primary or auxiliary mechanical propulsion, are not registered with the U.S. Coast Guard and are being used primarily in Maryland.

Boats must be registered within 30 days of purchase or being brought into Maryland. A 5 percent excise tax is charged, and the title fee is $2. Regular registration is $24. Other fees might apply; contact DNR for details.

Children age 7 and younger must wear a United States Coast Guard approved personal flotation device (life jacket) unless a vessel is moored or anchored, or the child is below deck or in an enclosed cabin.

As of this year, children age 4 or younger or weighing less than 50 pounds must wear flotation devices that include a strap between the child's legs to secure the life jacket, an inflatable headrest or high collar to keep the child's head above water and a web handle.

Operators born on or after July 1, 1972, must have a certificate of boating safety education to operate motorized vessels.

Boating safety courses are offered across the state. For more information, contact the Natural Resources Police Safety Education Division at 410-260-3280.

For more information, contact the Department of Natural Resources Western Maryland Service Center, 3 Pershing Street, Room 103, Cumberland, MD 21502; 301-777-2134. Or visit the Web site at

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