Coast Guard, OEMC share boating safety tips

May 26, 2011 4:41:35 PM PDT
Memorial Day marks the official start of boating season, and believe it or not, Chicago's beaches open Friday.

The Coast Guard and Office of Emergency Management have teamed up to make sure everyone stays safe on the water.

They gathered at Navy Pier Thursday afternoon to present a series of reminders to boaters. Among them, know the weather and water conditions before you head out; make sure your friends or relatives know when you're due back; and don't drink alcohol while operating a boat.

"Wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket. Accidents happen very quickly. And it's not just enough to have them stowed nearby," said Rear Admiral Michael Parks, Coast Guard Commander, Great Lakes.

According to the Coast Guard, drowning is the cause of death in 75 percent of all boating accidents, and in most of those incidents, the victims were not wearing life jackets.

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