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Michigan DNR offers tips for safe boating

Safe Boating Week is May 20-26

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources offered tips for boater safety in honor of National Safe Boating Week, which begins Saturday.

“Being on the water carries responsibilities,” said Lt. Tom Wanless, state boating law administrator with the DNR. “Following the law and taking simple precautions will help ensure that your boating experience goes as planned. You have a responsibility to yourself, your passengers and fellow boaters to be as safe as possible.”

While it is Michigan law that anyone under the age of 6 must wear a life jacket on the open deck of any vessel, all boaters are encouraged to wear one. According to the DNR, about 85 percent of boating accident drownings are the result of people not wearing life jackets.

Also, don’t drink while boating. Alcohol use is the leading known contributing factor in fatal boating accidents where the primary cause was known, the DNR said.

Stay alert while boating as well. Be aware of other boats, swimmers, skiers and objects in the water, especially when boating in a crowded area or at night.

The DNR also suggests making sure the boat is properly equipped. Always carry a first-aid kit, nautical charts, anchor, and marine radio or cellphone. Be sure to check that navigation lights work.

Before you leave, let family or friends know the details of your trip, including when you should be back. Also give them phone numbers for the local emergency dispatch center and U.S. Coast Guard in case you don’t return on time.

A boating safety class is also recommended. More information about safety classes can be found here.

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