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August 30, 2013

As Labor Day weekend approaches, GRDA urges safe boating

LANGLEY —

Even as summer 2013 begins to wind down, thousands are gearing up for the long Labor Day weekend on the waters of Grand and Hudson lakes. 
Whether they are coming to ski, swim, fish, sail or just cruise, lake enthusiasts will find plenty of opportunities to enjoy the approximately 70,000 surface acres of water managed by the Grand River Dam Authority.
However, because crowds are expected, the GRDA Police Department does want to remind lake visitors to boat safe, boat smart and boat sober during the holiday weekend. 
As always, GRDA officers will be on the waters to assist boaters, promote lake safety and enforce lake rules and regulations.
To help insure a safe outing, GRDA offers a few tips which every boater should know.
• Wear a life jacket. According to the latest data available from the United States Coast Guard (2012 Life Jacket Wear Rate Observational Study) there were 533 drowning deaths in 2011. Unfortunately, 415 of those individuals were NOT wearing a life jacket. In other words, approximately 84 percent of those deaths might have been prevented if life jackets were in use.
• Know the water and environment you will be boating on. Check the weather and water conditions and know where hazards like sandbars or stump beds may be located.
•  Keep a good lookout while underway. According to United States Coast Guard statistics, operator inattention and improper lookout continue to be among the top five leading factors in most boating accidents.
•  Shut your engines off when people are in the water near your boat.
•  Observe the nautical “rules of the road.”
•  Check the weather forecast before getting underway.
• Keep a balanced load and trim boat.
• Don’t overload your boat.
• Don’t ride on the gunwale, bow, seat backs or any place that is not designated for sitting.
• Finally, don’t drink and boat. Alcohol use continues to be the single leading factor contributing to boating accidents. Don’t become a statistic.

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