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U.S. Coast Guard urges boater safety ahead of busy summer season

You can sign up for a safety class or vessel safety check that will help get you prevent boating accidents.

GRAND HAVEN, Mich — It's the time of year when people get their boats back out and head to the lake. The Coast Guard is encouraging all boaters to take the proper steps to have a safe summer on the water.

"One of the biggest missions we do all summer is recreational boating safety," says Petty Officer Sean Whelan.

And now is when the Coast Guard starts ramping up education for Great Lakes boaters.

"A little bit of prevention can go a long way to avoiding a tragedy," says U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliarist Rob Kumpf.

One of their biggest recommendations is to always keep proper safety supplies close.

"A good prepared voter is going to have a pretty substantial medical kit on board," says Whelan.

Making sure it's filled with everything you may need to treat any injury that could come from a boating accident.

"We want to see something for burns in case there's a fire or something," says Whelan. "For bleeding, whether that be a tourniquet, just some sort of kit to patch up any bleeding wounds or lacerations. Splinting in case you break a bone under way."

What's also essential is enough life jackets for every person you have aboard.

"Every single life jacket should be Coast Guard approved and they should fit properly," says Whelan.

Whether you're an experienced boater or a first time boat owner, the Coast Guard also encourages signing up for some education before hitting the water.

"We sponsor boating safety classes to really educate people on how to operate their boat safely," says Kumpf.

As well as taking the time for a vessel safety check. That check will have a Coast Guard member tell you if you have all the necessary safety equipment aboard.

"There's no penalty for that," says Kumpf. "If you failed, we give you the list. You can go out and buy the thing you need."

To sign up for a safety class or a vessel safety check, click here.

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