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Coast Guard's Air Station Muskegon opens for the season

By Jon Mills/WZZM-TV • May 27, 2017 at 2:00 PM

MUSKEGON — The Coast Guard's Air Station Muskegon is now open for the season.

The bright-orange search-and-rescue chopper arrived at the Muskegon County airport at about 11 a.m. Friday.

The helicopter is from Coast Guard Air Station Detroit, and it flies missions out of Muskegon starting Memorial Day weekend until Labor Day.

The station covers the Ludington area to south of the state line.

Two crews of four work rotating shifts and are ready at all times of the day or night for emergencies on the water. The helicopter can be in the air in less than 30 minutes after a call for help is made.

The helicopter has infrared and night vision equipment to help find missing boater and swimmers in the water once it gets dark.

Coast Guard pilots say they love flying, but always hope their services are not needed.

"File a float plan, wear a life jacket," said Lt. Nick Cosenza, one of the four Coast Guard helicopter pilots who will spend the summer in Muskegon.

"Be safe on the water, and be prepared,," added Lt. Scott Balog, another pilot assigned to Muskegon.

Due to Lake Michigan's impressive size, the Coast Guard is asking that all boaters wear life vests.

For more information about the helicopter or safety tips, visit the air station's website.

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