LANSING, Michigan (WILX) – As Michigan warms up, people prepare to float in a boat. However, it is important that boat operators and passengers are safe. According to some avid hobbyists, there is one thing you should never do without: life jackets.

Specifically, life jackets that have been checked recently.

The Department of Natural Resources (MRN) agrees. In fact, the law states that “all boats must be fitted with a personal flotation device for each person on board”.

Chelsea Petosky has only been on the lake once before and she already knows the dangers of not having a properly functioning life jacket.

“A few weeks ago I used my old one and almost drowned,” Petosky said. “I can’t swim and he almost took water.”

Chelsea fiance Justin Pullman says he attributes the faulty jackets to improper storage.

“They were stored in the boat for a while in the heat and they took on water,” Pullman said. “We were only ten meters from the jet ski, but it was really difficult to stay afloat, let alone get to it when we fell.

The MNR requires children under the age of six to use a type one or two lifejacket. A type one is “best for open, rough, or remote waters where relief may be slow to come.” A Type 2 is good for “calm waters, inland or where there is a good chance of a quick rescue”.

Whether it’s a personal watercraft, boat, or even a swimmer, it’s important to always be aware of your surroundings.

“Really know the laws of boating and how to merge and when to give in and all that,” Pullman said. “Be respectful to everyone on the water and wear a life jacket.”

A list of MNR navigation rules and regulations is available ON THEIR SITE.

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