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Michigan residents love boats. Whether they are using big speed boats on the Great Lakes, quiet pontoon boats in the interior, or self-powered canoes and kayaks on the state’s many rivers, Michigan boaters love to get out on the water. Avoid letting a boating accident ruin your vacation. Keep these water safety rules in mind whenever you’re on the water.
You should always wear a life jacket when you are on the water. Michigan law doesn’t require adults to wear life jackets in boats (only on personal watercraft like jet skis). But many boat accident deaths could have been avoided simply by clicking on that personal flotation device.
What type of flotation aid you need depends on what you plan to do in the water:
Michigan offers boating safety classes and certificates that ensures that boat pilots and watercraft operators know what to do in an emergency. A boating safety certificate is required for:
Classes are held at different times all across the state. You can find a class convenient to you on the Michigan Department of Natural Resources database.
Many boat accidents turn fatal because a fallen boater isn’t found soon enough after a crash. One way to avoid this is to write out a float plan and leave it with a friend, neighbor, or family member. When you hit land, check in with that person. If he or she doesn’t hear from you within a set time, it’s time to call the emergency responders.
Particularly in Lake Superior or during cold-weather boating, it is important that you get out of the water quickly to protect your health and prevent hypothermia. By putting yourself on a schedule and checking in with someone regularly, you can make sure that you don’t spend hours in the water waiting for someone to notice you are gone.
Water safety is critical to preventing boating accidents. Take the time to refresh yourself on the rules of the water before you set out on your next adventure.