Coast Guard Patrolling Lake Michigan During Labor Day Weekend

Posted at 8:15 PM, Sep 01, 2013
and last updated 2013-09-01 22:27:01-04

HOLLAND, Mich.- Beaches and lakes in West Michigan were packed during the labor day weekend as the U.S. Coast Guard patrolled.

“This is not a lake, it’s an inland sea and that can kill you just as fast as the ocean, faster in fact because the weather changes faster,” Master Chief Marvin Hinga said.

Hinga says he’s never responded to a drowning where someone was wearing a life jacket. There should be one on board for each person on a boat.  Children younger than six are required to have a life jacket on at all times.

“A mother’s arms is a wonderful thing for a child but if she’s unconscious it will not protect the child,” Hinga said.

Though it is not required to take a boaters safety course in Michigan in order to drive a boat, the U.S. Coast Guard strongly suggests it.

The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office says they arrested 4 people for boating while intoxicated on Friday and Saturday.

“It is legal to drink on a boat but you want to be sure if you do drink, that you have somebody who can operate that is under the legal limit and knows how to operate their boat,” Hinga says.

It’s important to stay out of the water when there are rip current warnings.  The low water levels make rip currents even more dangerous than in years past.