CLEVELAND, Ohio — Memorial Weekend marks both the unofficial kickoff to summer and the end of National Boating Safety Week. The U.S. Coast Guard said its 9th District, covering the Great Lakes and headquartered in Cleveland, also sees its busiest season following the holiday.
“The 9th District is the busiest Coast Guard during the summer months between Memorial Day and Labor Day,” explained Petty Officer 3rd Class Omar Faba.
He said several warm stretches of weather have encouraged Northeast Ohioans to start boating. But he cautioned the water in Lake Erie is 55 degrees Fahrenheit and anything below 70 degrees increases chances of hypothermia.
“It’s not atypical for a nice day like this for people to want to take their vessels, their watercraft out on the water and enjoy the weather,” Faba said.
The Coast Guard Auxiliary will provide free vessel safety checks to make sure boats and other watercraft are in full compliance of all federal and state boating laws. Inspectors will not issue citations for anything amiss, but instead will provide a written report to help fix any discrepancies.
Faba said among the necessities to bring boating are a marine radio to make contact in case of emergencies and enough life jackets for each person in the boat. He also recommended life jackets be worn at all times on the water.
“If you were to get into an accident or something were to happen out on the water, you wouldn’t be able to reach for that life jacket at the last second and put it on, in case you hit the water. You want to have that ready and snug. Same situation – if you were in a car accident and you get hit by another car, for example. You wouldn’t be reaching for your seat belt at the very last second.”
He also said it’s important to make a plan, let others know where and when you’ll be on the water and check the weather before leaving the dock.
“We want you to be well-informed and prepared, in case something were to happen, you have the equipment, the tools and the knowledge necessary for you to be able to respond to a situation,” Faba said.
News 5 also spoke Amy Coward, a nurse manager at University Hospitals, shares some tips about water safety to keep in mind as the swimming season approaches. Watch what she had to say in the player below:
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