The following was issued by the Huron County Sheriff Department late Thursday afternoon:
(HURON COUNTY) – With what some consider the last weekend of summer, Labor Day Weekend is upon us. We at the Huron County Sheriff’s Office want everyone to enjoy without anyone getting hurt, or even worse, losing their life.
Although typically not as busy as a 4th of July weekend, our 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.
The forecast for the period is indicating favorable weather for outdoor activities. With that said, those planning to spend time on the water in a kayak or boat, we 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. These 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 our Deputies over 90 tickets, with 72 to kayakers for not having a life jacket. As of today, those numbers are nearly 100 tickets with over 80 to kayakers. New this year was the additions of life jacket loaner stations to the Bird Creek Beach and the Veterans Park Beach, both in Port Austin. Still it has been determined that many kayakers have walked right by a loaner station, only to be found out on the lake without a life jacket.
Our strict enforcement of life jackets comes with many years of experiences where kayakers have found themselves in a bad way out on our big lake. However, unfortunately two of those situations have resulted in lives being lost. Our purpose is not to harass but to simply try and deter the paddle enthusiast who may be a little over confident, or who has possibly taken Lake Huron for granted.
Besides having a life jacket and proper attire, we 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.
We 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, our County’s law enforcement agencies respond to late hour noise complaints and property damage caused by fireworks. We ask firework enthusiast to be careful and mindful when using them.
In closing, we ask and it definitely will be appreciated if media can report on these two safety concerns throughout the holiday period. We’d also like to include two other advisories with one being drivers needing to look twice for motorcycles while driving.
Huron County has experienced several motorcycle related injury accidents throughout the years, with some involving deer. Lastly, we certainly want to remind all drivers of any vehicle, including boats, not to drive drunk or under the influence of drugs.
We honestly do want everyone to enjoy themselves, as well as our county for everything it has to offer.
Memories made of good times are better to retain than those where believed innocent fun turned into tragedy within seconds.
Kelly J. Hanson
Huron County Sheriff