Manistee Coast Guard promotes water safety at Kennedy Elementary

(Abigale Racine/News Advocate) Donning his life jacket, Coast Guard petty officer Kenneth Mize, right, says to the Kennedy Elementary students Thursday afternoon, "I look cool because I look safe."

(Abigale Racine/News Advocate)
Donning his life jacket, Coast Guard petty officer Kenneth Mize, right, says to the Kennedy Elementary students Thursday afternoon, “I look cool because I look safe.”

MANISTEE – With summertime approaching and the end of another school year nearing, the Coast Guard spoke with Kennedy Elementary students yesterday afternoon to educate them on water safety.

Coast Guard boatswain Raymond Wert and Petty Officer Kenneth Mize focused on three main points while addressing the young audience members in the gymnasium: swimming safety, boating safety and the proper cautions that should be taken with the recently-popular Cold Water Challenge. The Cold Water Challenge entails challenging a friend to jump into freezing waters, in efforts to raise money toward charity.

Wert and Mize didn’t discourage children from participating, but they want to ensure that proper precautions are taken.

“We want you to have fun, but we want you to be responsible, talk to your parents first,” said Mize.

The Coast Guard members also shared other tips to promote water safety, as Mize and Wert agreed that taking prevention efforts are best when it comes to the water.

In regards to swimming, the No. 1 is to never swim by yourself. The speakers explained how to conduct oneself in the water if caught in a rip tide or undertow, advising not to panic, but to breath and relax.

For boating, the Coast Guard stressed the importance of wearing a life jacket, even with its lack of fashion forwardness.

“It may save your life,” said Mize, as he and Wert modeled life jackets during the presentation. “I think I look cool because I am safe.”

The Coast Guard men told the students to call 911 in case of an emergency. If an instance comes up during a boating trip, use the response radio on channel 16 to contact the Coast Guard.

For more information on water safety, visit www.uscg.mil/d9/sectLakeMichigan/STAManistee.asp, or visit the Manistee Coast Guard at 523 Fifth Ave.

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