America’s Waterway Watch Campaign

The warm, summer-like weather has many of us thinking of ways to cool down or to plan for summer recreation.

Boating may be the answer to both.

With plenty of open water here in the U.P., there’s plenty of opportunity to get out on the water.

Michigan has 38,000 square miles of Great Lakes, 11,000 inland lakes and 36,000 miles of rivers and streams.

Recreational boating is a big part of the state’s ‘Pure Michigan’ ad campaign for residents and visitors.

This is a very important time for Michigan’s $3.9 billion boating business.

Marinas and dealers are busy selling boats, prepping boats and launching boats for those who plan to spend some time on the water.

Memorial Day weekend begins a week from tomorrow.

It’s the traditional start of boating season in Michigan, when many of the state’s more than 900,000 registered boats will be launched.

If you’re planning to be on the water this summer, the U.S. Coast Guard and Michigan’s Department of State want you to keep your eyes and ears open.

There’s a concerted effort to involve civilians in watching for possible terrorists, drug smugglers and other illegal activity on the Great Lakes.

Officials say don’t approach or challenge anyone acting in a suspicious manner — being vigilant doesn’t mean being a vigilante.

Instead, the Coast Guard recommends that you report suspicious activity or conditions by calling the National Response Center toll-free by calling 1-877-24-WATCH.

For immediate danger to life or property, you can call either 911 or the Coast Guard on Marine VHF-FM channel 16.

Any follow-up action is best handled by trained law enforcement professionals.