ST. PAUL (AP) — As the ice comes off more Minnesota lakes, safety officials are highlighting Saturday's start to National Safe Boating Week.

The St. Paul District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says the best thing a person can do to stay safe on the water is to wear a life vest or personal flotation device.

According to U.S. Coast Guard statistics, there were 4,515 recreational boating accidents last year that resulted in 651 deaths nationwide. Almost 71 percent of all fatal boating accidents were the result of drowning; and of those, almost 85 percent of the victims were not wearing a life jacket.

Some of northern Minnesota's large fishing lakes remain at least partly covered by ice, but many smaller lakes, and lakes to the south, have opened up.