CHICAGO (CBS) — The biggest race on Lake Michigan is underway.

Boaters participating in the Race to Mackinac are keeping a close eye on the skies as storms threaten to put up some roadblocks.

Those participating in the annual race are taking extra precautions in anticipation of high waves and strong winds.

The U.S. Coast Guard is the primary patrol and emergency response. Eight boats will provide emergency assistance as the racers leave Chicago.

They’ll also be tracked by eight guard stations as well between Chicago and Mackinac.

Last year a third of the racers because of heavy squalls halfway through that race.

You can track the event on the official Race To Mackinac website.