Water Safety Tips With the Missaukee County Sheriff’s Marine Patrol

Lake City is welcoming thousands for the Fourth of July, but reminding everyone to stay safe. With fun comes risk.

Whether it’s out on the boat or out on the jet ski, even just hanging out on the sandbar, the Sheriff’s Office Marine Patrol has a few safety tips for everyone because while they want everyone to have a great weekend, they also want it to be a safe one.

“Obviously we do some enforcement, but I guess my opinion and direction to the officers are is that we want to educate people up here to have fun,” said Sheriff Wil Yancer from Missaukee County.

Daniel Moran spent 46 years with the Department of Natural Resources, whose grant dollars pay for the Marine Patrol. He now spends his retirement patrolling the water during the summer.

His number one rule, “if you’re required to wear a life jacket, wear a life jacket. This is the first thing. And that’s going to prevent drownings. Most drownings, if you had a life jacket on, you wouldn’t have drowned.”

Last year, one man drowned because he wasn’t wearing a life jacket while paddle boarding.

“They’re not required to to to have a life jacket or wear a life jacket. But for swimmers, wind has a lot to do with accidents like that. You fall off, you lose control, your board floats away and you know, pretty tough situation,” said Moran.

The second rule, do not drink and drive. Even on the water.

“With the right watercraft, you can consume alcoholic beverages while you’re on the water, while you’re operating, but you can’t do it if you’re intoxicated,” said Moran.

And finally, make sure your boat is registered properly, and has all require items on board.

Make sure your registration stick is visible, keep your life jacket around and be courteous while out on the jet ski.

If everyone does these things, it’s sure to be a happy Fourth.