- Associated Press - Friday, September 26, 2014

CHICAGO (AP) - It may be a beautiful and even warm time of year to go boating on Lake Michigan, but the Coast Guard said that water temperatures are dropping and may pose safety risks.

In a news release, the Coast Guard said that while the temperatures out on the lake might be warm, the water temperatures have already dropped substantially since the summer - with temperatures of Lake Michigan having fallen from almost 80 degrees during the height of summer to about 60 degrees now.

“Warm air temperatures can create a false sense of security for boaters,” said Mike Baron, recreational boating safety specialist for the Coast Guard 9th District. “Cool water drains body heat up to 25 times faster than cool air. That is why we encourage boaters to always dress for the water temperature and not the air temperature.”

The Coast Guard said people should not go on the water alone, and that boaters should wear Coast Guard-approved life jackets. The Coast Guard also recommends boaters carry registered personal locator beacons in addition to the VHF-FM marine radio, to alert the Coast Guard and local agencies of problems.

The release also recommends that boaters, if they fall in the water, assume a position that lessens heat escape. That means bringing their knees close to their chest and keeping them in place by wrapping their arms around their shins.

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