Boaters offer safety advice at start of summer boating season

CLEVELAND – This long holiday weekend many boaters will be heading out on the water for the first time this season. From large yachts to fishing boats, speed boats and canoes and kayaks, there are important safety measures everyone should take.

The Coast Guard is warning paddlesport enthusiasts to wear the proper attire to keep them warm if they fall in the water. Experts say even though it is hot outside the lake temperature remains cold and could be dangerous.

The Coast Guard says paddlers should equip their boats with a hand-held VHF-FM radio, a Personal Locator Beacon and flares. Paddlesports are the fastest growing segment of recreational boating, with more than 450,000 registered paddlecraft in the Great Lakes region according to the Coast Guard.

Experienced captains of larger vessels say they always have life jackets, multiple flares, special lights, a fire extinguisher on board. They also say most importantly - the driver of the boat should not consume alcohol whenever out on the water.

“As I'm up here, you’re not drinking when you’re driving. The folks can be enjoying themselves all they want but as I got one eye on the water and one eye on my folks,” said Dave Kozinski.