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Ride along with the U.S. Coast Guard: Their advice for boaters

WTOL 11 caught up with the U.S. Coast Guard Toledo Station to hear what they want boaters to know as summer kicks off.

TOLEDO, Ohio — Memorial Day weekend really jump-starts boating season around Northwest Ohio. 

For the U.S. Coast Guard Toledo Station, Memorial Day weekend isn't the time to relax.

"We are prepared for any event or any weekend such as memorial day weekend," Petty Officer 3rd Class Jhonny Benitez said.

Over the winter though it can be easy to forget some equipment and regulations needed when hitting the water.

"When people are just starting to get their boats out of winterization one of the common things we see is forgetting to put your boat plugs in or very, very simple things like not having life jackets on board," Benitez said. "So make sure before you put your boat in the water, you have the safety equipment that you need."

He says their role is to make sure people are safe and have what they need.

"It is a violation of federal compliance and federal law to not have the proper safety equipment on board you can be violated for it yes however beyond the violations and beyond the law, it is just good equipment to have in the event that you are in distress and you need that equipment to save your own life," Benitez said.

Also, drive carefully so you can protect other lives.

"It may seem like a very big waterway but just because you're on a boat and you're on a lot of water does not make you any safer, it can be just as much of a hazard as driving a vehicle on the road," he said.

If you do have an emergency and need to contact the U.S. Coast Guard, they have an app you can reach out to for help and find out what safety regulations you should follow. You can find more information here.

Benitez says it's also a good idea to let a loved one or friend know where you'll be boating, when you're going and when you plan to come back so that if you don't, they know where to look.

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