Minn. DNR Warning Boaters of Cold Water Dangers
Posted at: 11/19/2012 2:37 PM
| Updated at: 11/19/2012 5:44 PM
By: Alan Hoglund
Unseasonably warm weather and cold water can be dangerous to late-season boaters, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The agency is warning boaters and waterfowl hunters to not to let their guard down.
So far this fall, the DNR says four people have died during the late boating season.
In a news release, Capt. Greg Salo, a DNR Conservation Officer, said "all boaters need to remember they must wear a personal floatation device. Low water levels are exposing several hazards: rocks, low-wing dams, stumps, etc. Operators and passengers can be easily thrown overboard after coming into contact with one of these hazards."
The DNR says the cold water can be dangerous or even deadly, especially if people don't consider the consequences of cold water shock and hypothermia that can result from falling into water at this time of year, Salo said in the release.
According to the release waterfowl hunters must also wear a personal floatation device, and even though some hunters find it uncomfortable to wear them while hunting, Salo said, "camouflage float coats are a good option for hunters but they must be properly worn and zipped to count as a personal floatation device."
In the release, the DNR recommend these safety tips for late-season boaters:
- Wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket; even good swimmers need to wear one.
- Don't go out in any boat after drinking alcohol; the effects of alcohol are more dramatic while balancing in a boat than while standing on dry land.
- Don't go boating alone; boating safety increases with numbers.
- Don't overload the boat.
- Keep an eye on the weather and go to shore if the wind picks up.
- Tell someone about trip plans and when to call 911 if not back at a certain time.
- If boat becomes swamped or capsizes, stay with it if possible and await rescue, because most boats will continue to float, even after capsizing and filling with water. Drowning often occurs when the victim tries to swim to shore rather than face the embarrassment of being rescued.
For more information, visit the Minnesota DNR website.