MARQUETTE — One of the greatest features in the Upper Peninsula is having access to many water–ways and participating in water sports. Sarah Mac has more on how to stay safe while having fun in the water.

Lakes may seem tame enough, but there are still safety guidelines to follow. Today the Marquette National Weather Service and other local agencies hosted the Water Safety Expo at McCarty’s Cove in Marquette near the Coast Guard station.

Whether your preference is boating, swimming kayaking or any other any other water sport or activity, you got to learn the safety basics, and the Water Safety Expo is a great place to start.

Meteorologist from the Marquette National Weather Service, Matt Zika says, “From the National Weather Service to Michigan Sea Grants to the YMCA to the city of Marquette – they’re all going to be here demonstrating how the water safety equipment works in the event somebody would ever have to be rescued. We have plenty of brochures and materials explaining the threats and hazards that exist here along the Marquette beaches.”

Some of the greatest concerns are different rip currents, meaning channelized currents of water that flow away from shore According to an official from the Marquette National Weather Service, Marquette County has the highest number of safety incidents in the U.P. – especially because of the rip currents at Picnic Rocks. School–Aged Program Director for the YMCA, Benjamin Platt says part of water safety, even for beginners is monitoring the weather, not only during thunderstorms but also on hot sunny days.

“Out on the lake there really are some important safety things,” Platt added, “definitely a personal floatation device, and then being prepared for the temperature of the water and not just the air. On a hot day it can be dangerous when the water is really cold, people will go out and think, ‘Oh, well, I’ll just wear a t-shirt and some shorts.’ You get in the water and you can actually have hypothermia.”

Platt was on scene to help people put the safety tips they learned into action on the water, and to demonstrate some water sport safety. The Water Safety Expo has been held every other year for the past couple years in Marquette.

If you weren’t able to attend today and want to know more about water safety click here.