Labor Day weekend marks the end of summer for most Minnesotans. The warm temperatures mixed with the long weekend make for a busy time on the water, so the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is reminding everyone to keep safety in mind before and while they are out on lakes and rivers.
“Safety never takes a vacation,” said Kara Owens, DNR boat and water safety specialist. “Boaters should wear a life jacket every time they step on a boat and stay away from alcohol; booze and boating don’t mix.”
In Minnesota so far this year, eight people have died in boating accidents with a ninth person missing, compared to nine fatalities for the same time period last year.
Falls overboard, capsizing and lack of life jacket use are the most common factors in fatal boating accidents around the state.
“We want people to get out and enjoy our weather, but don’t put yourself or someone else in danger by drinking and boating or operating your boat recklessly,” Owens said.
The DNR offers tips for safe and responsible boating including:
State law requires a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket accessible for each person on board all watercraft.
All children under 10 years old are required to wear a properly fitting Coast Guard-approved life jacket while a boat is underway.
Alcohol and boating don’t mix.
If a watercraft becomes swamped or capsized, try to reboard or stay with craft.
Take a boater course and receive a boat education certificate.
For information on taking a boating course and other boating safety information visit, www.dnr.state.mn.us/safety/boatwater.
Also boaters are encouraged to visit boat and water safety’s new Facebook page at www.facebook.com/MnDNRBoatandWaterSafety.