Wayne County Sheriff’s Office urges boater safety this season – CBS Detroit

(CBS DETROIT) – Boating season in Michigan is upon us, and the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office would like to remind boaters to have fun on the waters, but also to be safe while doing so.

They charge and hit the water. The Wayne County Sheriff’s Office Marine Patrol Unit has one mission in mind: to keep boaters safe.

READ MORE: Michigan State Police Seize Voting Machine, Expand Investigation into Potential 2020 Election Violations

“The year before we had about seven drownings, which was a record year. Last year there were only two,” said Sgt. Michael Roehrig with the Marine Patrol Unit of the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office.

Roehrig says the goal is to have no drowning, but if anyone is in need, he says the Marine Division is well equipped to help.

“Our dive team consists of nine divers… All of our gear stays on the rig when we get a dive call anywhere in the county we will respond,” Roehrig said.

The unit has five ships covering 144 square miles and 38 miles of the international maritime boundary.

READ MORE: Passing and Waiving Licensing Fees at Detroit Animal Care for Two Weeks in May

Before taking a tour along the Detroit River and Trenton Channel as the unit patrolled the area, they offer a few safety reminders to boaters.

“Everyone on board has a life jacket, easily accessible, there is a fire extinguisher, a sounding device and your check-in,” said Lt. Matthew Gloster of the County Sheriff’s Office Marine Patrol Unit. Wayne.

Sheriff Raphael Washington also wants to remind boaters that when driving drunk, the same rule applies to driving a vehicle and CPL holders should leave their guns at home.

“If you have your gun with you and you’re drinking a little bit more and you’re inebriated, you’ve got some issues,” Washington said.

With many accidental shootings lately, the Sheriff’s Office will be providing boaters with free gun locks as well as free boating safety courses, especially for those new to the water.

“We’re seeing a lot more first-time boaters and jet skiers on the water,” Washington said. “We are also seeing a lot more younger boaters than in the past. We all know that a fun day on the water can change in a second, so we want to do our best to make sure everyone is ready.

The following information is from the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office:

If you need a boating license, Wayne County Sheriff’s Marine Division, in cooperation with the US Fish & Wildlife Service and the Detroit International Wildlife Refuge, conduct Basic boating safety course. Classes are held at the John D. Dingell Jr. Visitor Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge Center (5437 West Jefferson Avenue, Trenton, MI 48183). We hope to organize another evening course in June or July if there is enough interest. To register, please call the Wayne County Sheriff’s Marine Unit at 734-675-2660.

According to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, 79% of all boating deaths are due to drowning, and alcohol consumption is the largest known contributing factor in fatal boating accidents.

In 2020, 181 boating accidents in Michigan were reported, including 33 fatalities (only 21% of people were wearing a life jacket). There were 20 drownings and nearly $2.2 million in property damage was reported. On average, the sheriff’s office performs 2-3 collections per year.

  • Since April 20, 2022, fire extinguishers must not be older than 12 years, according to the date of manufacture stamped on the bottle
  • Children under the age of six must wear a USCG-approved life jacket when traveling on the weather deck of any vessel
  • Vessels must be equipped with a readily accessible personal flotation device for each person on board
  • Due to high water issues, Wayne County has a 500ft slow no-wake order

NO MORE NEWS: Washtenaw County Announces New Juvenile Restitution Program

© 2022 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Earnest A. Martinez