BUFFALO, N.Y. — It's that time of year again, when people across the region take to their favorite waterways for some sun, fresh air and maybe a little fishing or water skiing. But before pulling up the anchor or leaving the dock, the U.S. Coast Guard has some safety precautions to keep in mind. 

  • Make sure there are life jackets for everyone and that they fit. Boaters are not required to wear them, but they do need to be accessible in case of an emergency.
  • Have a horn or whistle
  • Check the boat's fluids and engine to avoid getting stranded. 
  • Have a radio and remember the international hailing and distress frequency is channel 16. 
  • Make sure emergency flares and fire extinguisher aren't expired. 
  • Dress for the weather.
  • Don't go swimming, at least not yet. Lake Erie is only 50 degrees and hypothermia can set in within minutes.
  • Take it slow if conditions warrant it.

There's a safe boating class in the community room of McKinley Mall from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. on June 2. To register, call (716) 725-9669 to register. Additional safety information, and a listing of other classes, is posted on the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary's website, which also has a link to schedule a free vessel check.