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Coast Guard holds boating accident awareness event in Michigan

With summer and warm weather finally here, many people have enjoyed going out to the lakes to cool down. Although the water can be a fun place to relax, it can also be dangerous if individuals do not take necessary safety precautions.

A United States Coast Guard station in Michigan recently hosted an open house to teach people about water safety and to help prevent fatal boating accidents. One Coast Guard member stressed the importance of teaching boat safety to the public, explaining that boat accidents and deaths have dropped significantly since such initiatives began.

The Coast Guard member explained that remaining safe is usually up to the boater, who can do several things in order to maximize safety while on the water. Specifically, he recommended that all boats keep a stock of high-quality life vests, flares and a marine radio.

He also urged boaters not to operate their vehicles with blood alcohol levels above the legal limit. He suggested that anyone with poor swimming skills wear a life vest at all times while on a boat. The expert also recommended that all boats implement float plans, informing someone on land that they are currently at sail and when they plan to return to port.

The Coast Guard in the city performed 67 search and rescue missions last year, often responding to incidents in which boats had been capsized by storms, overturning, colliding with other vessels and striking submerged objects. The Coast Guard also taught citizens how to respond to emergencies by throwing rescue lines.

Source: Michigan City, "Coast Guard offers tips on water, boating safety," Susan Emery, 22 May 2011

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