BAD AXE, MI – With what some consider the last weekend of summer, Labor Day Weekend is upon us. The Huron County Sheriff’s Office wants everyone to enjoy it without anyone getting hurt, or even worse, losing their life.
Although typically not as busy as a 4th of July weekend, the county’s nearly 100 miles of shoreline will still see many vacationers and tourists throughout the three-day period. Unfortunately though over the years, some bad experiences have occurred during this holiday, particularly with activities that involve watersports or fireworks.
Even with weather forecasters saying there are chances of rain throughout the period, it is very possible that the majority of the weekend will still be favorable for outdoor activities. With that said, those planning to spend time on the water in a kayak or boat, they cannot stress the importance of making sure you’re properly safety equipped and your boat is in good mechanical condition. This also includes observing all state and federal boating laws too.
Huron County’s north shore is a popular kayaking destination. Those waters have been the scene of many emergency situations involving kayaks, which includes near death experiences and unfortunately death.
Kayakers are strongly encouraged to understand that water temperatures have cooled into the mid to upper 60s and long term exposure in it will lead to hypothermia. Kayakers also need to know their physical limits while kayaking, along with understanding exactly what type of sea conditions their kayak can take.
Near shore southerly breezes can also leave a false impression of favorable kayaking but the further you go offshore, the waves and currents do increase and it does become difficult to return. Under no circumstance should anyone venture out without a proper fitting life jacket. The most common causes of death in kayaking accidents are overturning or falling overboard. Sadly enough in those instances, the majority of kayakers weren’t wearing life jackets and drown.
Last year Huron County Deputies issued 47 tickets, with 32 to kayakers for not having a life jacket. As of this morning, that number has more than doubled to nearly 70.
New this year, besides their regular scheduled patrols, Deputies have been also conducting special random patrols from an unmarked shallow water boat. The purpose is not to harass but to simply deter the paddle enthusiast who may have been a little over confident, or possibly take Lake Huron for granted.
Besides having a life jacket and proper attire, they strongly urge that kayakers carry a cellular phone in some type of water proof container. One other very important safety precaution is to always let someone on shore know where you’re going and when you’re supposed to be back. They further ask that kayakers be respectful of property owners and their privacy rights. Several trespassing complaints have been handled with many resulting in enforcement action.
In regards to fireworks, improper use of fireworks has disrupted neighborhoods, caused property damage and even worse, caused serious injuries to a few. Safety and exercising caution when using them is a priority, with being respectful of your neighbors a close second. Every year, the county’s law enforcement agencies respond to late hour noise complaints and property damage caused by fireworks. They ask firework enthusiasts to be careful and mindful when using them.
As stated earlier, the forecasted weather is looking favorable for the majority of the holiday period. This is again a perfect time to remind motorists to watch for motorcycles by looking twice before proceeding. Huron County has experienced several motorcycle related injury accidents this year, with some involving deer.
Lastly, the Huron County Sheriff’s Office certainly wants to remind all drivers of any vehicle or boat not to drive drunk or under the influence of drugs. They honestly do want everyone to enjoy themselvesby exploring what the county has to offer.
Memories made of good times are better to retain than those where believed innocent fun turned into tragedy within seconds.