Many of Minnesota’s residents and visitors know the joy of spending time on the lakes and rivers. It’s definitely a privilege having access to so many wonderful waterways, and with that privilege comes responsibility too. A responsibility to keep yourself, your passengers, and the other individuals enjoying the same water safe. Here are five boating safety tips that will help you do just that.
1. Wear Your Life jacket
Life jackets save lives. In the unfortunate event of a boating accident, wearing a life jacket can make all the difference. When looking at all of the fatal boating accidents in Minnesota in 2016, 89% of the individuals who lost their lives were not wearing life jackets.
2. Stay Sober
Another way to greatly increase boating safety is to avoid the use of alcohol. While alcohol use laws are different on boats, boating under the influence (BUI) is something boaters need to be aware of. Using the same study from above, alcohol was a factor in 50% of the fatal accidents. When looking at non-fatal accidents, alcohol was a factor in 19% of them.
4. Be Weather Aware
The weather can have a pretty significant effect on boaters. When you’re in the middle of a lake, you don’t want a storm to sneak up on you. Stay aware of the day’s forecast, and consider canceling your trip if the weather is supposed to get bad. If you find yourself in the middle of a storm, stay calm and move slowly through rough water until you reach shore.
5. Be Boat Smart
Here in Minnesota, the Department of Natural Resources offers educational opportunities for adults and youth to learn proper watercraft operation and basic boat safety tips. There are online and classroom options, making boat education more easily accessible.
If you’re interested in learning more about boating safety and what’s new in 2018, check out the Minnesota Boating Guide 2018. And enjoy the water, safely!