Increased boating patrols result in heightened safety awareness

The boating police were out in force over the past weekend - part of a national boating safety campaign called Operation Drywater. "The whole idea was to get the word out there - early in the season - that we will not tolerate OWI (operating under the influence) boating,' said Marine Patrol Sgt. Keith Koeman of the Ottawa County Sheriff's Department. Another part of the operation was conducting boat safety checks and education, he said.
Becky Vargo
Jun 30, 2011

While boats from the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department, U.S. Coast Guard and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources were on patrol all weekend, the big push was Saturday evening, Koeman said.

“We had nine patrol boats out Saturday night on Lake Michigan, the Grand River and Spring Lake,” he said.

The Sheriff’s Department logged 89 hours with 15 officers over three shifts, Koeman said.

“We contacted 105 vessels containing about 187 boaters,” he noted. “We didn’t arrest anybody and that’s a good thing.”

Coast Guard Station Grand Haven Senior Chief Kirk McKay said they made more than 40 stops.

“We didn’t have anyone under the influence,” he said.

Koeman said the OCSD Marine Patrol did issue six citations, which included some registration violations and one slow/no wake violation. Officers also gave 21 safety warnings, which included: no life jackets, no registration sticker, going too fast in a no-wake area, bow riding and improper display of the MC number.

“The statute says you have to sit in a seat designed for seating,” Koeman said of the bow riding. “You can’t sit on the bow of the boat with your feet dangling in the water.”

Koeman said one of the boaters was warned because of improper MC numbers: the numbers were done in script. “You have to have 3-inch high block letters” so it is readable, he said.

Both McKay and Koeman agreed that most people are good sports when they are stopped.

Online:
www.co.ottawa.mi.us/CourtsLE/Sheriff/marine.htm
www.operationdrywater.org

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