Be safe on the water

Driving a car is easy.
Oct 29, 2013

Think about it — you have clearly marked roadways to follow, complete with lines that let you know whether you need to stay in your lane or if you’re allowed to pass. You’ve got stop signs, traffic signals and signs every few feet letting you know what’s expected of you as you sit behind the wheel.

Plus, everyone on the road has completed a driver's training course, learning the rules of the road.

Driving a boat, on the other hand, now that takes some know-how. On the water, there are no clear paths to follow, no stop signs, yields or merges.

Sure, it’s generally expected that, in a river, you keep to the right side; and on a lake, you follow the shoreline in a counter-clockwise direction. But, other than that, boats are free to crisscross paths as they wish.

Making this more difficult is the fact that, on many bodies of water, these boats are pulling skiers, tubers or wakeboarders.

Throw in personal watercraft that zip back and forth unchecked, along with dozens of fishing boats dotting the horizon, and operating a boat — especially at high speeds — becomes a task that requires intense concentration.

Each summer, on lakes across West Michigan, we hear of tragic stories in which people are injured or killed, or boats totaled, because of negligent driving.

Part of the problem is alcohol. We’re constantly reminded of the perils of drinking and driving when it comes to cars, but what about boats?

It’s a fairly safe bet that a high percentage of those operating boats on a sunny Saturday or Sunday afternoon have had at least one beer, if not a few.

It doesn’t take much to pass the legal limit blood-alcohol level in Michigan, meaning many of these powerboat operators are driving drunk. It’s an accident waiting to happen.

We all know it’s a good idea to have a designated driver on the roads. The same holds true on the water.

When you’re out on the water for a festive time with family and friends, be sure someone abstains from drinking, and be sure that someone is capable of driving the vessel.

Getting behind the wheel of a boat can be a lot of fun, but if the proper precautions aren’t met, it can also lead to tragedy.

Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung, Alex Doty and Fred VandenBrand. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to news@grandhaventribune.com or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.

Comments

Bee

Maybe this would be an "opinion" that should be shared just before or perhaps at the start of the boating season? Why put it in the paper in late October?

rukidding

Filler, boredom, just thought of it, need more alcohol awareness...

In the spring they will have an article about collecting and disposing of leaves.

LessThanAmused

Maybe because just recently there was an article in the paper about the dude who ran his boat into another boat that was parked somewhere?

I don't claim to know more than that because I don't own a boat so boating related stories are usually skipped over, but I do remember reading the article about that drunk at the helm and the mess he made.

We could probably use an update on the original story at this point, or at least as soon as his sentence has been handed down.

truthhurts

doesn't apply during summer apparently either. I think I remember seeing ski show team members not wearing a life jacket during their Coast Gaurd Show. Just saying

LessThanAmused

Still ticked about being kicked off the team eh?

rukidding

LOL, I was going to but decided against opening that can of worms again.

LessThanAmused

Awww c'mon man, live life on the edge!

Whatareyoutalki...

I'm pretty sure this was addressed as not being illegal (morality on the other hand is in the eye of the beholder, let he who is without sin cast the first stone).

Oh yeah I remember, it was.

Because I called the coastguard and actually researched it, rather than just complaining about something and being ignorant to facts.

truthhurts

sorry im less than amused, have you found a job yet?

LessThanAmused

Oh my god....you and masterwing using my handle in your moronic, drooling replies is sooooo last season. Buy yourself an original thought or just shut your piehole.

I know I've mentioned this before, but I know how you people's attention spans work so here it is again.....I'm retired. Not my idea at the time, but I'm starting to get used to the idea. I worked a minimum of 40 hours a week, usually more, for almost 45 years. I have health problems from standing on a cement floor for 45 years so no employer wanted to take a chance on my sorry old a**. Therefore, I have opted to tap into my social security, something I paid into for that entire 45 years and am now enjoying volunteering a couple days a week, doing things I like to do, taking long walks with my granddaughter, working on my yard and house, including an ever growing honey-do list. My wife had a major stroke last winter so I am also taking care of her as she needs assistence frequently.

So there ya go you nitwit. I suggest you get a life and do something that'll keep you alive until you reach retirement age. Assuming you don't get hit by a car crossing the street, or die from a drug overdose first. That's the truth, I hope it hurts.

Oh, and learn how to use the forum "reply" button too....it's not that hard, even a nitwit should be able to figure it out.

Lanivan

Don't give truth (an oxymoron if there ever was one, but I play along) no never mind. On occasion, he has been known to snap and actually offer a well-articulated and thought-out opinion (none of which I agree with, but that's neither here nor there).

But he is generally content to hide behind the coattails of poor, ole, hard-working Vlad, letting him do the heavy lifting, and, much like a Cheshire cat, take swipes in passing.

truthhurts

go figure, another deomcrat complaining about how hard they have it by not working and collecting free money. lazy people

Lanivan

I rest my case. Any urges to snap lately?

truthhurts

Oh the horrors of being a baby boomer that wants to retire early and collect and live the good life of doing nothing productive, chiming in on the stupid local papers comments section and in general leaving the world a little more in debt than they had it for the real working class America.

LessThanAmused

You give a whole new definition to the phrase "Shi* for Brains"

You won't have to worry about retiring, whether it's your choice or not, as all that anger and stupidity will kill you before you ever get close to the finish line.

I would think even Vlad would be ashamed to have you in his fan club, but I can't speak for him, I could be wrong. Maybe if he can pull himself away from Utube for awhile he'll check in and offer up some wisdom, Vlad style.

truthhurts

you better go re-read your posts, then go look in the mirror. I ain't in nobody's fan club. Anything else moronic you would like to add that has nothing to do with anything? you should comment on yahoo, you would fit in there with the non-sense in your comments.

jawbreaker10

What do you mean FREE MONEY, we retirees paid into Social Security for years, it is our money, we earned it. If the Republicans don't think it's a good idea then they should send their SS checks back to the government and quit collecting it!

SCH39339

Re-read what you wrote here YAAUA. You need Help, you need a bar of soap, you need a Life other than your keyboard. Stop the tales, stories, retirement etc. One would think you are the only person in this world and just has to keep talking, telling, bullying so many of us. Shape up your mind, your keyboard or start worrying about too LTA not being your cover for much longer. We hope you live too long enough to see the end of this week. Shame, YAAUA

LessThanAmused

That sounds like a personal threat against my well-being. I'd be careful if I were you.

People who take this stuff too seriously end up in jail or worse, frequently. Much of what is said here is said tongue in cheek. If that's a concept you can't grasp then again, don't like it, don't read it, or complain to the Tribune. If they think you have a legitimate gripe I'll get a note from them and the post(s) will disappear. Simple and effective right? YAAUA indeed. I made up my own meaning, thanks for no explanation of yours......

Have a nice day.

Bee

I like the new LessThenAmused he is a breath of fresh air.

LessThanAmused

ommmmm

rukidding

Be fruitful and multiply

LessThanAmused

Oh good lord man, don't tell her to do that! There'll be a whole hive of bees before you know it!

truthhurts

pop those kids out!! you need a bigger pay check every week

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