With Memorial Day as the un-official start to summer, many of you will be heading out to enjoy the summer sun. There are all sorts of fun activities to do during the summer, but probably the one most people look forward to after a long winter is boating. There’s just something great about the wind running through your hair as you cruise along the water. Regardless of whether you have been driving boats for years or whether this summer will be your first time on the water, it’s important to know some basic boating safety tips to help avoid injuries while enjoying the summer sun. Just this past weekend in there were 6 boating or water related deaths in Michigan, with each of the deaths resulting from drowning.
Even though you are on water, it is still illegal to drink and drive a boat. According to the United States Coast Guard, boating under the influence (BUI) results in more than 50% of all boat related accidents. Make sure you have enough life jackets on your boat before heading out, there should be one for each person on the boat. Children need special flotation devices, so make sure if you are going to have kids on your boat you are prepared.
If you are not familiar with how to operate a boat or need a refresher on the basics, there are local boating safety classes available. For the Lansing, Michigan, area,
BOATING SAFETY: A safe boating course will be held June 19 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the American Legion Hall, 1785 S. Cedar St., in Holt. State law requires individuals younger than 16 who operate personal watercraft (jet skis) and boats with motors in excess of 25 horsepower must pass a boating safety course and possess the resulting Safe Boating Certificate on board their vessel. This "Boat Michigan" course will be presented by the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Lansing Flotilla and includes: eight-hour study, exam and the subsequent issuing of Michigan’s "Safe Boating Certificate" for those who qualify. Course fee is $10; for information, contact Douglas Colwell at 574-4154.
You can also check with your local Department of Natural Resources for more information. If you live in Michigan but not in Lansing, you can check Michigan’s DNR page for local boating safety information.
Here is some additional reading on boating safety:
Have a Safe Boating Weekend, by Brooks Schuelke, Austin, Texas.
Injuryboard’s Beth Janicek Boating and Boozing.
Mike Bryant’s Injuryboard post Think Safety With National Boating Week
Boating in Iowa, Let’s be careful out there!, Steve Lombardi from West Des Moines, Iowa.
Hopefully, it’s a fun and happy week for everyone.