Huron county’s shoreline consists of nearly 100 miles of shoreline. Should there be periods where the weather and sea conditions are cooperative this holiday weekend, many may be enjoying time out on the water. If you happen to be one of them, make sure your boat is properly equipped and observe state and federal laws that pertain to safe boating. For the last several years, Huron County’s north shore has become a very popular kayaking destination. These waters have also been the scene of many emergency situations involving kayaks, which have included near death experiences, as well as death.
Sheriff Kelly Hanson says Kayakers are strongly encouraged to understand that even though this time of year is considered to be the unofficial start of summer, water temperatures are only in the low to mid 50s and short term exposure in it can 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. Sheriff Hanson says 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.
Sheriff Hanson says 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. This has occurred too many times in our county and simply possessing a life jacket could have been the difference between life or death. New this year, we’ve partnered with Port Austin officials to make an assortment of life jackets available to those who may have forgotten their life jacket. Hence, a life jacket loaner station has been set up on the Bird Creek Park Beach. This further narrows the excuses of why someone left shore without a life jacket. When done with the borrowed life jacket after their trip, all they have to do is return it.
Last year Huron County Marine Deputies issued 80 tickets, with 72 to kayakers for not having a life jacket. Besides the importance of a life jacket and having proper attire for the cold water conditions, authorities ask kayakers to at least carry a cellular phone in some type of water proof container. One other very important safety precaution is to always let someone know where you’re going and when you’re supposed to be back. We also ask that kayakers be respectful to property owners and their privacy rights. Several trespassing complaints have been handled, many resulting in enforcement action.