U.S. Coast Guard Station St. Ignace Continues Boater Safety Mission Despite COVID-19 Pandemic

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, members of the U.S. Coast Guard have continued their role of keeping people safe out on the water.

Typically, the St. Ignace station hosts an open house each year to give the public some boating safety tips. But it can’t this year because of the pandemic. Untitled Project 1

Instead, the station invited Northern Michigan’s News Leader out to a training exercise on Thursday.

“The mission continues, we have not stopped and we very rarely have even slowed down,” said BMCM Andrew Babione, officer-in-charge at the U.S. Coast Guard Station St. Ignace.

He says with COVID-19, they’ve had to make some changes.

“The public can expect us to have some sort of face covering most of the time,” Babione said.

They’ll also ask a few questions before getting in close contact.

“We’ll ask all those precautions just to ensure we’re not going to enter an environment that may pose undue risk to both the coast guard member or the person we are trying to assist,” Babione said.

Part of their mission is to make sure everyone is safe out on the water.

“Just in the last two weeks, we’ve had nine cases that we’ve responded to,” said BM2 Andi Webster.

Webster says you should always check the weather and lake temperatures before heading out.

“You don’t always expect you’re going to wind up in the water, but if you do, the water robs the body of heat 25 times faster than air does,” Webster said.

You’ll also want a few things on hand.

“First and foremost is a life jacket,” Webster said.

They say you should make sure the life jacket fits properly and is U.S. Coast Guard approved.

And just in case something happens…“Having multiple forms of communication is really important, some way of contacting somebody if you wind up in trouble,” Webster said.

Because they are always there to help.

“We’re always ready, we’re always out here on the water,” Webster said.

Categories: Coronavirus