Holland — Last year, the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office recovered nine bodies from county waterways and spent 459 hours on 14 search and rescue calls. This year, law enforcement hopes to lower those statistics.

The Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Coast Guard Holland Station are busy this spring educating boaters water safety this summer.

“We’re teaching a new boater that maybe has never been on the Great Lakes before,” said Coast Guard Flotilla Cmdr. Dan Groenendyk. “It’s a different experience, so we’re here to give advice and instruction.”

In 2016, 46 people drowned in Lake Michigan, according to the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project. So far this year, 15 have drowned.

In order to prevent another peak year of drowning, the Coast Guard is offering free vessel…