You don't think that Lake Michigan is flat water - right?
As to things to learn, with two of you it'd be worth it to find some late pool sessions and learn assisted rescues right up front. The paddle float thing works but takes more practice to be reliable than most people realize. But if you guys have tried assisted, you've also learned some things that make the paddle-float rescue a ton more reliable, and less tiring.
PFD's (Life Jackets)
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