Dangers of Boating and Swimming
Michigan is very blessed with all the lakes that are available for boating, fishing and swimming but there are some dangers.
Like many Michiganders, my son and I spend a lot of time on or in the water during the summer months.
This 4th of July weekend was no different than any other weekend except at the end of the day on the 4th, we lit some fireworks.
We have been regularly fishing a chain of lakes in Newaygo County. All four lakes are very nice to fish but each lake is really not all that big. We usually wrap up fishing just around the time the play boats and jet ski's hit the water.
I am actually surprised at how big some of the boats are that travel these waters and how many boats are allowed to do so all at once.
All four lakes are heavily posted that everyone travels counter clockwise which is a good thing. There are also hour limits of when you can pull a tuber or skier.
In the short time we were on the chain of lakes we couldn't believe how many close calls there were with boats, jet skis and swimmers. A boat would lose a tuber then have to flip back around but sometimes another boat pulling someone was not far behind.
My son and I took our fishing boat out Sunday to the Hardy Pond and did some swimming on a little spot that is secluded so we could social distance from others. The water drops off pretty quick there so we don't have to go far to cool off.
I was surprised at how many boats came in so close to us while we were swimming and floating because there is a lot of room on Hardy Pond to stay in the big water. Boats seem to drive anywhere to pass another boat.
We swam in that area for quite some time and were surprised at how many close calls we saw with other boats, jet ski's and people who fell off tubes, ski's or boogie boards.
When you pull someone behind a boat, you need at least two people in the boat, one to drive and the other to keep an eye on who is being pulled. Even when you have the right number of people things can still go wrong.
According to WOOD, a swimmer was hit Sunday afternoon on Gull Lake and unfortunately has died from the injuries.
A young man driving a boat did not see the swimmer and hit them.
A person's head can be hard to see when they are swimming and you are traveling in a boat. Plus with all the boat traffic it is hard to see all angles sometimes.
Even my fishing boat rises pretty high before it plains out but I always make sure I have an all clear in front of me plus checking all sides before I take off.
Most boaters are pretty safe and responsible, but a few that add some alcohol or drugs which are illegal when driving a boat, can really make someone have some bad judgement.
It is unclear if the young man had been drinking or was on drugs when he hit the swimmer on Gull Lake. Authorities are still awaiting the toxicology report.
It is still tough to spot a swimmer if they are not wearing a bright swim cap or a bobble on the back so you can be seen by boaters. Its a tough call by maybe a mandatory rule needs to be put in place or just avoid swimming in areas where there is a lot of boat traffic.