Tony Shingler of Hagerstown was so dedicated to taking his boat out on the water Thursday that even his truck overheating twice didn’t deter him.
“We got up at 6 a.m. to go fishing and ate breakfast at Denny’s at 6:30,” he said. “The truck first overheated at 7:15.”
After getting his truck worked on, Shingler, 48, said it overheated again later that day. He finally got his boat on the lake at Greenbrier State Park by 1:15 p.m., taking it out with his brother, Chris.
“I took a day off, so I’m fishing,” he said. “Even though my truck broke down earlier, I can still enjoy the day.”
People across the state of Maryland and in Washington County have taken their boats out already during this warm spring. Boating season in Maryland officially begins April 15, according to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.
Chris Shingler of Hagerstown, 53, said he and his brother use their boat to fish.
“You don’t have to fight people for spots when you’re fishing on a boat,” he said. “You can relax a little bit better on a boat than fishing from the bank.”
Boating contributes up to $2 billion of the state’s economy and supports up to 35,000 full-time jobs, according to the DNR website. That is spread across commercial watermen, marine contractors, marinas, boat yards and waterfront businesses.
Danny Richards of Falling Waters, W.Va., was taking out a boat he just got for the first time Thursday afternoon on the Potomac River at Williamsport.
Richards, 59, said he was testing it out to make sure it runs right for a trip he was getting ready to take.
“The water is my life,” he said. “I’ve been doing this for about 26 years.”
Richards said he has a boat he uses for lakes and another one he uses on rivers.
Dennis McCunney, 34, of Timonium, Md., took a paddle boat out on the lake at Greenbrier State Park Thursday. He said it is his favorite time of year to take his boat out.
“It’s quieter, and it’s cooler and not too hot,” he said. “And when you’re fishing on a boat you have access to fish that you wouldn’t have from a bank.”
People who take their boats out in Maryland are required to have approved personal flotation devices, according to the DNR. They also need to have a basic first-aid kit, a fire extinguisher, a boat anchor and a cellphone.
The DNR maintains more than 400 public boating facilities in the state.