Have a (Safe) 4th of July Weekend

Photo Credit - Dan FarkasGuest Blogger Dan Farkas shares a Pure Michigan boating memory on Torch Lake, and implores everyone to be safe on the water this 4th of July weekend.

We all have our summer story. Mine involves an inner tube and an in-law.

Our families convene at Torch Lake every year. My father in-law is protective of his daughter, so when we got on the boat and he asked/demanded “You’re getting on the tube?!” I thought I was ready.

I wasn’t. I bounced around those notoriously chilly waters like a ping pong ball for what felt like an hour. It was actually 32 seconds. All that time, I remember telling myself, “At least I wore a life jacket.”

There are hundreds of lakes and streams around Michigan. All offer many opportunities the whole family can enjoy. With so many options, there should be one constant: when you go out on the water, wear a life jacket.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, 672 people died from boating related accidents in 2010. Approximately 88 percent of drowning victims were not wearing a life jacket. Studies also show Michigan with the third most boating fatalities of any state in America.

So with one of the busiest boating weekends of the year upon us, the National Safe Boating Council (NSBC) has two Safe Summer promotions.

  • Take the Safe Summer pledge this July 4th. It allows boaters to share with their friends and family their dedication to boat safely and wear a life jacket each and every time they are on the water.

  • They want to see your Safe Summer boating stories. Whether silly or serious, you can submit personal stories of safety to showcase just how special the state is this holiday weekend. You even have the chance of winning a Summer Fun package, which includes a life jacket, beach towel and Flip Mino HD camcorder.

Photo Credit - Dan FarkasI’ll be back at Torch Lake in a few weeks for our family’s annual gathering. It will be my daughter’s first visit. I can’t wait for her to see the same sunsets her great grandfather saw 50 years earlier.  And while she’s still way too young to get on the tube, she’ll be wearing her life jacket while daddy bounces around the water once again. Whichever Michigan lake, river, or stream you find, have a Pure Michigan summer. You can start by wearing a life jacket whenever you go on the water.

Will you take the pledge this weekend?

Dan Farkas writes on behalf of the National Safe Boating Council. He spent six years living in Cadillac, five years vacationing up north and one year being “Dad” to his daughter Leah. Learn more about the NSBC’s Safe Summer at http://twitter.com/safeboatcouncil or http://twitter.com/boatingcampaign.