Take, for example, the group of hearing-impaired adults who overloaded a pontoon boat to watch the Fourth of July fireworks on the Grand River, then became stranded when they ran out of gas. They also did not have an adequate number of life jackets.
But for the calm 13-year-old girl, the oldest of three children aboard the craft that night, what was an embarrassing discomfort could have been a tragedy. The girl used a cellphone to call for help and then help guide rescuers to the boat stuck in the chilly fog somewhere near Lloyd’s Bayou.
“This is the perfect example of how something can turn tragic,” Senior Chief Justin Olson of the Coast Guard Station Grand Haven told the Tribune.
Commanding a boat is much like driving a four-wheeled vehicle on land: Train for it, don’t drink alcohol before getting behind the wheel, keep your eyes on the road/water, know where you’re going, and make sure your car/boat is tuned up and gassed up.
The Coast Guard Auxiliary offers boating safety classes right here in Grand Haven, as well as vessel safety checks. Call the Coast Guard office for information or visit www.cgaux.org.
And if a Coast Guard crew hails you over, be appreciative. They’re there to ensure your boat and crew are safe for the open water.
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