DNR Gives Tips for Safe Boating Season
With warm weather on the horizon, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has given out a list of tips to help the public secure a safe boating season.
- Life jackets on, all the time.
Don’t just bring one, wear one. In Minnesota, 90 percent of boating fatality victims are not wearing a life jacket. By law, children under 10 years old must wear one while the boat is underway. Wearing a life jacket is the easiest step boaters of all ages can take to help ensure they get home safely.
- Drinking and boating do not mix.
Boating under the influence is illegal and is the single greatest factor in fatal boating accidents. Keep the alcohol on shore for the safety of friends, family and everyone on the water.
- Check safety equipment.
For those putting their boat in the water for the first time this season, it’s important to check all safety equipment. That includes making sure life jackets fit and are in good condition and checking navigation lights, sound-producing device, fire extinguisher and carbon monoxide detectors. Also remember to inspect – and use – the engine cut-off lanyard.
- Own the wake.
“Owning the wake” means understanding that all boats produce wakes, so you need to be aware of the potential impacts of their wake. This includes impacts to others on the water, the shoreline, and equipment like docks and moored watercraft.
- Know the rules.
Make sure you know Minnesota’s boating laws and regulations. An online education course can help increase your knowledge.
In addition to helping to ensure safety, boaters also play a vital role in preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species. Every time your boat comes out of the water – whether an AIS inspector or enforcement officer is present or not – you must clean aquatic plants and debris from your watercraft, drain lake or river water, and dispose of unwanted bait in the trash. Remember to keep drain plugs out and water-draining devices open while transporting watercraft.