A wonderful day on the water quickly turned into a day no one wanted to experience.

On Sunday (Father's Day) around 5:15, an accident on Gun Lake took one man's leg and a man other found himself under arrest. It was all due to not following the laws of the lakes. According to Mlive.com...

The driver of a boat who ran over one of the boat's passengers after he fell, amputating his leg, has been arrested. The 21-year-old Allegan man was booked into the Barry County Jail on a charge of operating while intoxicated causing serious injury. Court records show the man has not yet been arraigned.

It was a horrible accident that didn't have to happen, and now two people's lives have been seriously affected forever.

I grew up on the water and have been swimming, boating and sailing before I could even walk. The one thing I know for sure is that you should always have a healthy fear of the water, and the power she yields. With that thought in mind, drinking and water sports don't mix well.

I recently read an article at dui.findlaw.com that highlighted the dangers of drinking and hitting the open waters. It stated...

A rise in alcohol and drug-related boating injuries and fatalities prompted state legislatures to enact Boating Under the Influence Laws (BUI). Over half of all boating accidents involve alcohol or drugs, and alcohol is the leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents, according to the Insurance Information Institute. The U.S. Guard reports that BUI incidents increase boating fatalities by approximately 34 percent.

It breaks my heart that people only want to enjoy the water, and suddenly one bad idea hurts so many.

Spending time on the water is one of the BEST things that Michigan has to offer and discoverboating.com has a list of things you need to know before shoving off...

  1. Be Weather-Wise: Always check local weather conditions before departure.
  2. Follow a Pre-Departure Checklist: Proper boating safety includes being prepared for any possibility on the water.
  3. Use Common Sense: One of the most important parts of boating safety is to use your common sense. This means operating at a safe speed at all times,staying alert at all times and steering clear of large vessels and watercraft that can be restricted in their ability to stop or turn.
  4. Designate an Assistant Skipper: Make sure more than one person on board is familiar with all aspects of your boat’s handling, operations, and general boating safety.
  5. Develop a Float Plan: Whether you choose to inform a family member or staff at your local marina, always be sure to let someone else know your float plan. This should include where you’re going and how long you’re going to be gone.A float plan can include the following information:
    • name, address, and phone number of trip leader
    • name and phone number of all passengers
    • boat type and registration information
    • trip itinerary
    • types of communication and signal equipment onboard, such as an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) or Personal Locator Beacon (PLB)
  6. Make Proper Use of Lifejackets: Wear it!
  7. Avoid Alcohol: Practice boating safety at all times by saving the alcohol for later.
  8. Learn to Swim:If you’re going to be in and around the water, proper boating safety includes knowing how to swim.
  9. Take a Boating Course: Beginning boaters and experienced experts alike need to be familiar with the boating safety rules of operation.
  10. Consider a Free Vessel Safety Check: Take advantage of a free vessel safety check from the US Coast Guard. They offer complimentary boat examinations to verify the presence and condition of certain safety equipment required by state and federal regulations. Free of charge, they’ll provide a specialist to check out your boat and make helpful boating safety tips and recommendations. They also offer virtual online safety checks as well.

I hope that everyone involved in the recent accident finds some sort of peace and that everyone else has a safe summer on Michigan lakes!

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