National Safe Boating Week is this week and conservation officers in Michigan want to remind boaters to follow these safety tips this summer.

According to a press release from Michigan Department of Natural Resources, conservation officers remind boaters to:

  • Wear a life jacket. More than 80 percent of drowning accidents in the United States are due to people not wearing their life jackets. In Michigan, anyone under the age of 6 must wear a life jacket when on the open deck of any vessel, but wearing a personal flotation device is recommended for everyone.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol. Nearly half of all boating accidents involve alcohol. Studies show that passengers are 10 times more likely to fall overboard when they have consumed alcohol.
  • Make sure the boat is properly equipped and equipment is in good working order. In addition to all legally required equipment, such as life jackets and fire extinguishers, always carry a first-aid kit, nautical charts and an anchor. Make sure navigation lights are working properly.
  • File a float plan. Always let a family member or friend on shore know the “who, what, when and where” of your trip. Let them know when you are expected to be back. Give them phone numbers for the local emergency dispatch center and U.S. Coast Guard in the event you don't return when expected.
  • Maintain a sharp lookout. Stay alert for other boats, swimmers, skiers and objects in the water.
  • Carry a marine radio or cell phone. Be prepared to call for help in case you are involved in an accident, your boat becomes disabled or you otherwise need assistance.

It is also recommended that anyone who plans on going out in a boat or personal watercraft to take a boating safety course.   For more details on boating safety go to www.michigan.gov/boating.

Have fun and be safe on the waterways this summer.