MN DNR Encouraging Boat Safety During Labor Day Weekend
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is urging the public to practice boat safety for the upcoming Labor Day weekend and beyond.
According to the Minnesota DNR, this year has been one of the deadliest boating season in nearly 10 years. DNR conservation officers believe the state’s waters will continue to be a popular attraction this Labor Day weekend and throughout the fall.
“Staying safe on the water isn’t just about checking things off a list – it’s a mindset,” said DNR Boating Law Administrator Adam Block. “Once you have that mindset, you’ll keep yourself safer and be a positive role model for other people learning how much fun there is to be had on Minnesota’s waters.”
Boaters should keep the following in mind:
- Wear a life jacket (foam is more effective than inflatables during the cold-water season). It’s the one thing most likely to help people survive a fall into cold water.
- Distribute weight evenly and abide by manufacturer’s weight limits to reduce the likelihood of falling overboard.
- Have a means of communication. Boaters also should let other people know where they’re going and when they plan to return.
- Watch the weather to avoid shifting winds or storms.
- Even strong swimmers can be incapacitated quickly after a fall into cold water.
The Department of Natural Resources has reported that 13 people have died in boating accidents in the state, which is the highest number of deaths since 2011. The usual cause of deaths is due to capsizing and falling overboard during the colder seasons.
“We’re entering a transition period when the water temperature will start dropping, so now’s the time to prepare,” said DNR Enforcement Division Director Rodmen Smith. “All boaters should put safety above everything else, but new boaters, in particular, need to understand the risks associated with late-season boating and the steps they can take to minimize those risks.”
More than 10,000 people have completed an online boater education safety course, compared with the annual average of about 7,000. Motorboat registrations are up by more than 1,100 from 2019. Conservation officers have given out more warnings for boating safety violations, which is part of the DNR’s efforts to educate and keep boaters safe.