DNR urges safety as boating season is deadliest in a decade
Lake Superior, Duluth MN
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is urging safety after a deadly start to the open-water season.
As of June 16, as many as nine people have been victims of boating fatalities. That preliminary number marks the most fatalities at this point of the year in more than a decade.
Besides boating deaths, a higher-than-average number of people have drowned at beaches and swimming pools, says the DNR.
The agency says the string of above-normal temperatures has brought more people to the water, and unfortunately, more deaths along with it.
For safety, the DNR recommends that even experienced swimmers wear a life jacket. A “water watcher,” should also be designated; someone who puts down their cell phone and focuses only on ensuring everyone is safe. The agency also recommends avoiding alcohol, which is involved in about 40% of boating fatalities.
Swimmers should wade feet-first into the water to avoid jumping into an area where the current or depth is unknown, and children should be supervised constantly while they’re in or near the water, says the DNR.
“There are too many families who won’t be seeing their loved ones again,” said Lt Adam Block, boating law administrator for the DNR. “It’s up to everyone who heads for the water to double-down on safety and prevent what should be a fun experience from turning tragic.”