2021 is Minnesota’s deadliest boating season in 16 years, says DNR – WCCO

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources calls 2021 the deadliest boating season in 16 years.

They ask end of season boaters to take extra precautions on the water.

READ MORE: Artistic tribute to Bob Dylan mounts outside Hibbing High School

So far this year, there have been 17 deaths on the water – and 16 of the victims were not wearing life jackets.

Elliot Nutting is a regular at White Bear Lake. He puts his boat in the water every evening, despite an exceptionally busy year.

“I have seen so many boats this year,” said Nutting. “I feel like it’s overcrowded compared to previous years, so many boats on the water.”

Joe Albert, communications coordinator for MNR’s law enforcement division, says the pandemic has spiked interest in the outdoors. But with more first-time boaters, accidents have also increased.

“We unfortunately see deaths every year, but this year has been really eye-opening to see the numbers, it’s unfortunate for sure,” Albert said.

About 30% of boating-related deaths occur during the cold water periods of spring and fall. Albert said even the strongest swimmers can succumb to cold water.

While air temperatures were above normal for much of the fall, the water temperature fell below 70 degrees, which is the threshold for classifying the water as cold.

(credit: CBS)

Jay Adams was seen fishing with his father in White Bear Lake. The young fisherman said he never went out without a life jacket.

READ MORE: Nathan Hase killed in Goodhue County crash

“You have to wear a life jacket because if you fall in the water just for the safety of people, even if you can swim,” Adams said.

Nutting echoes the sentiment. He added that putting away any distractions is also helpful.

“I put my phone away for sure every time I drive the boat,” Nutting said. “I don’t want to have accidents. I have heard horror stories about it.

The DNR recommends that people always wear a life jacket when out on the water. But the biggest thing people can do if they fall for it is try to calm down and then figure out how to get out of it.

“A lot of people end up gulping water right away and then they start to panic because their limbs aren’t working the way they should, nothing is working the way they should,” Albert said.

Here are some other safety reminders when people are heading into cold water:

* Wear a life jacket. Foam life jackets are more effective than inflatable life jackets during the cold water season.

* Distribute weight evenly throughout the boat and follow manufacturer’s weight limits to reduce the risk of falling overboard.

* Have a means of communication. Boaters should also let others know where they are going and when they plan to return.

* Watch the weather to avoid changing winds or storms.

NO MORE NEWS: Cameron Clark to serve over 15 years for attempted murder of unborn child, complicity in robbery

* Wear an engine shut-off if the boat is so equipped.

Source link

About Madeline Dennis

Check Also

Wisconsin deer gun hunters face ammunition shortage again | Wisconsin News

MILWAUKEE (AP) – Wisconsin kicked off its 170th deer hunting season on Saturday and for …