With the boating season well under way I would like to remind everyone to pull out their Michigan Boating Laws Handbook and/or the Federal Boating Laws and review them. Laws do periodically change, and our memory may not always be as sharp as we may think when it comes to remembering all of those navigation rules. I mentioned this last year at the start of the season, however; I still see a number of pontoons running after dark in violation of this law. The “head lights” mounted on the front of your pontoon boat are NOT legal running lights! They are installed there for a specific purpose and are actually called “Docking Lights”. They are there for that purpose and that purpose only. If you are running on the lake with those lights illuminated you are in violation of the Navigation Light law. The same goes for the decorative lights that I have seen installed on the outside perimeter of boats such as rope lights and LEDs. While stopped, at anchor, on shore or docked you can have any lights you want illuminated but once you are moving and away from the dock you must adhere to the Federal/ State Navigation Light laws. Another safety tip I would like to address is boat speed. My son came off the water last year after riding his personal watercraft and made the statement that it really surprised him how fast a boat can be right next to you. I don’t think boat operators realize just how quickly their boat travels. Did you know that at 13.64 miles an hour, your boat will travel 20 feet in 5 seconds? At full throttle I am sure most of your boats travel faster than 13.64 mph so think about how much water you are covering in a very short amount of time. And you don’t have brakes!! Should someone fall off the bow of the boat there is no way you can stop fast enough to keep from hitting them with the motor. Remember that the throttle goes two directions and it is the only “brake” you have! Have a safe and happy summer!