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National Safe Boating Week Comes to the Northland

Updated: 05/16/2014 10:22 PM
Created: 05/16/2014 6:23 PM WDIO.com
By: Maarja Anderson

It may not be time yet for tubing or water skiing, but it is fishing season.

"We got one real nice crappy and one nice northern, but otherwise that was it. Nothing else," said angler Greg Rautell.

Rautell said the water in Rice Lake is still a chilly 44 degrees. The cold water makes it all the more important to be prepared with life jackets.

"You don't want to go out without them, you know,"he explained.

Friday kicked off National Safe Boating Week.

At the Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center, they're raising awareness by wearing their life jackets to work.

"You never know when you may find yourself in the water. People can fall overboard, they can be knocked overboard,"explained park ranger Mary George.

She said most boating accidents happen when boaters go into the water unintentionally. She stated 347 people a year die in those accidents each year in the country.

"90 percent of those were not wearing life jackets," said George.

To ensure more people have access to a life jacket, this year the Coast Guard Auxiliary will have a life jacket loaner program at the Park Point beach house.

"Particularly for children, but also for visitors who aren't familiar with our undertows and undercurrents to keep them safe, and also for boaters," said Diane Martinek, commander of Duluth's Coast Guard Auxiliary.

But whether you're boating or swimming, the life jacket has to fit in order to do its job and potentially save your life.

"One of the things you look for is whether it rides up or not when you pull it up or when you sit down is it riding up on you," said George.

National Safe Boating Week continues through May 23. On Saturday, the public is invited to the visitor center in Canal Park to join boaters around the world to try and set a new world record for "Life Jacket World Record Day." The event is at 1:00 p.m.

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