Coast Guard reminding boaters of maritime safety

May 18, 2013 (CHICAGO)

With Memorial Day marking the unofficial beginning of summer, extra traffic is expected on the water.

From learning how to tie knots, creating a float plan, carrying plenty of life jackets and having a designated driver, the Coast Guard is reminding people of the importance of staying safe on the water.

The agency has already had 32 rescues on Lake Michigan just this year, including one Friday afternoon when a small boat capsized and two people had to be rescued and it's not even the official boating season yet.

"With summer coming up and the weather warming up, people love to get on the boat, especially Chicago time in the winter, everyone is stuck inside... so they like to get out as much as they can," said Petty Officer Joseph Bienek.

Beginning this weekend and leading into Memorial Day weekend, if you plan on being on the water, and drinking, know you are being watched.

"Just this one weekend we're gonna get out there in full force and enforce this law of boating under the influence," said Bienek.

At their open house, Coast Guard and auxiliary officials detailed some their lifesaving methods to neighbors curious about water safety.

"We learned about the safety with the flotation and what the Coast Guard, how they operate and how they patrol the different areas of the water," said Chuck Judy.

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