POINT PLACE, OH (Toledo News Now) - More people are starting to drop their boats into Lake Erie for the season. Before heading out on the lake, the Coast Guard wants to remind everyone of boat safety.
Ron Thomas and his friend, Benny, are about to hit Lake Erie to go fishing.
"Very relaxing. You get a little sunshine, fresh air and get a hook caught in you once in a while," said Thomas.
Before leaving the dock at Cullen Park, they make sure everything is working.
"We've been pretty lucky thus far. We've helped quite a few people out there that have had difficulties with dead batteries and bad fuel or out of fuel," said Thomas.
This time of year is busy for the crew at U.S. Coast Guard Station Toledo.
"If no one was getting hurt out on the water, then we wouldn't be talking about it, but there's people getting hurt on the water all the time and we just want to make sure everyone is gonna be safe out there," explained Petty Officer Paul Segura with the Coast Guard.
According to the Coast Guard, 758 people were killed in boating-related accidents last year nationwide and even more were hurt.
"You got the boats that are moving around. There are wakes that are coming off of other people's boats, waves. You're gonna bounce around. You could hit your head off your boat. You could fall into the water," said Segura.
Segura said that is why boaters need to have a life jacket for everyone on the boat. He also recommended fire extinguishers, a marine radio, and telling someone on land where you will be headed and when you will be home.
"The reason why we ask people to do that is if something were to happen, we have a better idea of what we're looking for so we can better search for them," explained Segura.
Thomas said it all comes down to respecting the water.
"If you don't do that, then you're gonna end up in trouble. So we try to do that," said Thomas.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Coast Guard are holding a free, hands-on event this weekend called "Take Me Boating Toledo." The event will feature safe boating demonstrations and safety checks. It will take place Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Skyway Marina on Front Street in east Toledo.