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Pulling the buoys for winter | News

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Pulling the buoys for winter
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MUSKEGON, Mich. (WZZM) - Every fall the men and women assigned to Muskegon's Coast Guard station swap out buoys used in the summer and replace them with more durable winter buoys. The work takes the crew as far south as Michigan City, Indiana and as far north as Frankfort.  That covers 200 nautical miles.

About 80 buoys need to be swapped out each spring and fall. The job can take up to two months depending on weather and wave conditions on Lake Michigan.

Before sunrise Monday the crew from Muskegon was in route to Grand Haven where the final four buoys of the season were bobbing in the Grand River.

The buoys the crew are after have multiple solar panels to power one blinking strobe light. The winter buoys lack that equipment because it can be damaged by cold temperatures and ice.

Crew members say the buoys are needed to guide boaters in and out of harbor and mark the center of the shipping lane.

As soon as the ice breaks in the spring the process starts all over. Lighted buoys will go back into the water in time for the big increase in boating.

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