The coast guard on both sides of the border and state and local agencies are urging those taking part in the Port Huron Float Down to do so safely.

A 12-kilometre stretch of the St. Clair River between Lighthouse Beach in Port Huron, MI and Chrysler Beach in Marysville, MI will be closed to all motor vessel traffic from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday during the event.

The U.S. Coast Guard has also introduced temporary regulations requiring minors under 18 to wear life jackets during the event due to the high number of people expected to participate.

Officials say fast-moving current, lack of life jackets, alcohol consumption, challenging weather, water temperature and limited rescue resources can also pose a challenge.

Among the precautions recommended by the coast guard are:

  • Children must wear an appropriately sized, U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket at all times, and adults are encouraged to do the same.
  • File a “Float Plan” with someone not participating who can report if do not check-in at the scheduled time. Electronic float plans can be filed using the U.S. Coast Guard smartphone app.
  • Bring waterproof bags for personal items and identification.
  • Never go alone, keep an eye on each other and immediately report incidents of distress.
  • Refrain from consuming alcohol immediately prior to or during the event.
  • Dress appropriately for the weather and cold water and use a raft that limits your immersion in the water and can be controlled with oars or paddles.
  • Stay near shore and remain out of the navigation channel.

In 2014, 119 participants were assisted by emergency responders, and one person drowned during the event.