Saginaw River Coast Guard prepares for busy Fourth of July weeke - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Saginaw River Coast Guard prepares for busy Fourth of July weekend

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SAGINAW COUNTY (WJRT) - (07/03/14) - Rivers and lakes throughout Michigan are going to be packed with people celebrating the Fourth of July - including the Saginaw River and the Bay.

The Coast Guard is getting ready for a busy weekend.

Police plan to patrol our roads this busy holiday weekend and the Coast Guard is doing the same. They'll be out on the water, looking out for any trouble.

Before hitting the water, Saginaw River Coast Guard crew members are checking their boats and getting ready.

"We're going to be out on the water all weekend," said Petty Officer Olin Darby, U.S. Coast Guard.

It'll be busy with folks celebrating the Fourth, so Coast Guard boats will be out there in case anything goes wrong on the water.

"It's going to be crowded so everyone needs to keep going at a slow pace, keep a minimum wake on a no wake zone," Darby said.

Logs or debris could be lurking just out of site in the river.

"If you hit it, your prop could go bad, there goes your engine and you'd be dead in the water as we call it," Darby said.

Just like being behind the wheel of a car, being behind the wheel of a helm, you need a designated, sober operator.

"You can get a boating under the influence. You'll get a big fine from 500 up to $5,000," Darby said. "Just make sure whoever is operating your vessel, they know the navigation of the area."

Here's a few more tips from the Coast Guard:

- Anyone under the age of 13 must wear a life jacket at all times.

- There must be a properly sized life jacket available for everyone else on board.

- Keep a fire extinguisher handy.

- Watch your speed.

"It's better to be safe than sorry. What's the hurry? You're on a boat, relax," Darby said.

The Coast Guard says their main goal this weekend isn't to stop anyone from having a good time, but to educate boaters on water safety.
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