DNR Urging Boater Safety During Labor Day Weekend
ST. CLOUD -- The summer of 2020 has been Minnesota's deadliest boating season in almost a decade so the Department of Natural Resources is urging boater safety this holiday weekend.
So far, 13 people have died in boating accidents this year. That's the highest number of fatalities since 2011.
Mike Martin is the DNR's District Supervisor for the St. Cloud Area. He says to think of the safety rules on an amusement park ride where you must keep your arms and legs inside at all times...
It is illegal in Minnesota to sit on the gunnels, to sit on the very front of the boat, or to sit in front of the rails on a pontoon boat. We just had a fatality a week or two ago in Wright County where someone was thrown from the boat because they were sitting in front of the rails on a pontoon. They were ultimately killed when the boat struck them.
The DNR says the two most common causes of boating fatalities in Minnesota are capsizing and falling overboard.
State law requires children under the age of 10 to wear a life jacket. Martin recommends all adults in the boat also wear them not only for their own safety, but to set a good example for kids.
Martin says this time of year the water temperatures can change quickly in a short period of time. He says that can lead to cold water shock drowning or hypothermia.