As many of us here in Michigan get ready to get our boats out for the big upcoming holiday weekend, make sure you double-check all of your safety equipment.

Michigan's Life Vest Laws: A Reminder

Boat owners should already know these; however, for those that either are new to things or just need a reminder, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has all the information you need when it comes to life-saving floatation devices and their requirements.

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A few noteworthy laws the DNR wants us to keep in mind:

  • "All vessels must be equipped with PFD [personal floatation device] for each person on board or being towed.
  • "Michigan’s PFD law permits a vessel that is less than 16 feet long, or is a canoe or kayak, to choose to have either a wearable PFD (Type I, II, or III) or a throwable PFD (Type IV) for each person on board."
  • One USCG–approved throwable device must be on board vessels 16 feet or longer and be readily accessible.
  • CLICK HERE FOR MORE

Along with the laws in place, there are different "types" of floatation devices and they are all different depending on someone's body weight, age, chest size, etc.

Making sure you not only have the correct PFD but also one in good, working condition is one of the most important things. It is not enough sometimes to just be wearing one.

A Lansing Couple's Cautionary Tale

Let this Lansing couple, Justin Pullman and Chelsea Petosky, be the only close call you witness when it comes to life vest precautions.

According to WILX, Petosky said she was using an old life jacket and almost drowned as she said, "I can’t swim and it almost took on water."

Pullman, her fiancé, thinks the jackets were faulty due to not being stored correctly...another precaution where it stands to have a good reminder.

“They were stored in the boat for a while out in the heat and they took on water,” WILX reports Pullman said.

Proper Life Jacket Maintenance

According to Boating Safety the main things about storing your life vests are:

  • Store in a cool, dry place
  • Make sure the life jacket is fully dry before storing
  • Try hanging them up for "adequate ventilation"
  • Keep away from direct heat
  • Store indoors, away from the elements
  • CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS

As you open up the boat and pull things out of storage, it is also beneficial to make sure you inspect your PFD's before use. Better to look before and have to potentially buy a new one than to need it and have it fail.

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