The Coast Guard is conducting optional safety checks of boats at the Big Lake North Boat Ramp to confirm that they contain equipment required by state law, including flares and life jackets.
“We're always promoting wear your life jacket. Because that's the difference between life and death,” said USCG Auxiliary Commodore Marie Scholle, who has witnessed her share of drowning incidents, including that of a toddler last year at Big Lake.
“They never go away; they always stay,” Scholle said. “And it's needless, it's senseless -- there's no reason why people have to drown.”
Scholle emphasizes that everyone needs to wear life jackets, not only when on boats but near bodies of water, and also have their boat checked out by the Coast Guard.
The free checks are continuing through Monday, and some people at the ramp say it’s definitely worth the time.
“It actually was helpful,” said boater Kristin Sullivan. “Because they looked to make sure in bad weather, do we have the correct lighting for our boat -- enough flotation devices if something should happen for the number of people on the boat.”
Vessels which have all their gear will receive a sticker to display that they’ve passed the check.
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