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Safe Boating Tip of the Week: Remember That Personal Watercraft Is a Boat [Sponsored]

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There’s plenty of summertime left and lots of boating still to be done.

Grand Valley Marine, with locations in Grandville and Grand Haven, urges you to say safe as possible when boating.

Caution and common sense are necessary, regardless of whether you’re using a powerboat, a sailboat, a pontoon, a fishing boat, a ski boat or personal watercraft.

Courtesy U.S. Coast Guard
Ski and wakeboard boats, as well as fiberglass and aluminum outboard boats, led the boating industry’s growth in 2013, according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association.

Ski and wakeboard boats continue to grow in popularity, with an 11 percent increase in the new boats sold at retail in 2013 to 6,100 units Outboard boats (pontoons, fishing boats and small family cruisers) were the most popular type of new powerboat sold last year, comprising about 84 percent of the powerboat market and up 5 percent to 134,800 units.

Additionally, the personal watercraft category increased 2 percent to 39,400 new craft sold at retail; and inboard cruisers increased 10 percent in retail sales compared to the previous year with 2,200 new units sold.

The reality is that 95 percent of boats on the water are 26 feet or less in length. For folks using personal watercraft, that means lots of other little boats to watch out for as well as those bigger boats.

While personal watercraft like Jet-Skis and WaveRunners are popular among thrill-seekers and families alike, they are just as dangerous as boats. In 2010, personal watercraft (PWC) were the second deadliest water vessels, causing 814 deaths in the United States, according to Allstate.

That’s why PWC operators need to take precautions and practice water safety habits at all times:

  • Always keep track of where you are and where you’re going.
  • Keep an eye on the weather, and give yourself enough time to get to safety if things change dramatically.
  • Watch the horizon to look out for other boats because you’re not the only one out on the water.
  • Learn federal, state and local regulations and follow them.
  • Pay attention to safety indicators, such as waterway markers.
  • Remember that you might be less visible to other boaters.

Remember, a PWC is a boat and must follow all the rules of the road.

So, please stay safe, be responsible and use common sense when using personal or other watercraft. Boating is boating, regardless of the watercraft.

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