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Is your boat ready for the water?

May 4, 2011
By Gary Ballweg , Daily Press

ESCANABA - Stay safe on the water this summer by performing a vessel safety check now, before the boating and fishing seasons start.

While most people are aware that they need to keep their automobiles in good running order, it sometimes doesn't occur to them to check their boats before the season gets underway.

Boat owners should take the following steps for vessel safety:

- Check the condition of your life jackets.

Make sure that there is one properly fitting life jacket for every person on board and that they are in good condition.

Check for discoloration, dry rot, and mildew; popped seams and tears in the fabric; and that the straps, buckles, and zippers still work.

- Check your equipment to make sure it is in good working order. This includes items like your visual distress signals, sound-producing devices, navigation lights, bilge pumps, ventilation blowers, and fire extinguishers.

- Check to make sure your navigation charts are on board and updated to the most current conditions.

Boat owners should have the Coast Guard Auxiliary perform a free vessel safety check. Vessel examiners will check the boat for mechanical safety as well verifying the proper safety equipment is on board and offering recommendations on how to best outfit vessels to comply with federal and state laws and regulations.

By taking the proper precautions now, you can prevent tragedy later. Take personal responsibility for your safety in order to enjoy a summer on the water."

In short, boaters should be prepared!

By following these simple tips, boaters should be able to enjoy a long relaxing weekend on the water.

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Gary Ballweg is sheriff of Delta County



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