Boating safety tips from Mid-Michigan experts ahead of Memorial Day Weekend

75% of boating deaths were caused by drownings and majority of those people were not using life vests.
Boating safety for Memorial Day Weekend
Published: May. 24, 2022 at 6:54 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Memorial Day Weekend is when many Michiganders head straight for the water.

About one million boats are registered in the state, which means a lot of water traffic for the holidays. Ingham County Sheriff’s Office Marine Division Deputy Adam Jackson said its most people’s first time back out in months. So he wants to remind owners about their safety obligations.

Related: The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project announces drownings up 71% from 2021

“Anybody operating a personal watercraft has to take a boater safety course and carry that boater safety card with them. Make sure everything is up to date before you go out,” Jackson said. “Have a safety plan and if you’re going to be out in the big waters, like Lake Michigan, have a float plan and let some family members know where you’re going and, when you plan to return.”

Lansing Boat Club said once you leave those larger bodies of water, the regulations don’t stop there. Narrow waterways -- like the Grand River -- use those same safety regulations.

“If you’re the boat behind someone that is tubing or skiing, you definitely want to keep your distance and want to be cognizant of where those skiers are in case they do fall in the water,” said Nate Banner, Secretary of Lansing Bpat Club.

Banner said every person on a boat should have a life vest -- but to be particularly careful with children under the age of six. According to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, 75% of boating deaths were drownings and majority of those people were not using life vests.

To ensure you’re having the best holiday weekend with family and friends, make sure your boat registration is up to date and make sure you bring all safety devices along with you on your weekend plans.

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