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Officials urge boat, kayak safety as warm weather moves into Northeast Ohio

Officials urge boat, kayak safety as warm weather moves into Northeast Ohio
Posted at 10:39 PM, May 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-15 22:39:01-04

CLEVELAND — Boaters and kayakers were out on the Cuyahoga River Saturday taking advantage of the warm, spring weather. But before folks head out on the water, officials are urging them to take precautions to stay safe while they’re having fun.

Many people flocked to Great Lakes Watersports in the Flats for a chance to paddle around.

“I was able to bring my own kayak for $5 and they launched it for me and everyone was great,” said Andy Guy, a kayaker from Willoughby.

Experienced kayakers like Guy know the general safety rules, but Great Lakes Watersports owner Joshua Allen is always ready to school beginners.

He said kayakers should stay out of the middle of the river, never cross in front of a boat, and if they need to cross they should do it quickly.

Also, even though the air temperature is warm, the water might still be cold, so he suggests dressing in long pants and a sweater to stay warm in case kayakers tip over.

And of course, always wear a life jacket.

“We require all of our kayakers to wear their life jackets at all times. So, if you take your life jacket off, you're putting yourself at risk. That's one of our requirements,” Allen said. “For boating we’ll make sure there's a life jacket on board for everybody. Make sure you stay at a decent speed. Just make sure you're comfortable in the water.”

During the boating season, Great Lakes Watersports is open daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Boat rentals and corporate events need a reservation, but kayaks are walk-up only.

Jade Jarvis is a reporter at News 5 Cleveland. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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