Officials with the Minnesota DNR are reminding everyone who’s around the water to make safety their first priority.
As of June 16, as many as nine people have been victims of boating fatalities. That number, which is preliminary, marks the most fatalities at this point of the year in more than a decade.
“There are too many families who won’t be seeing their loved ones again,” said Lt. Adam Block, boating law administrator for the DNR Enforcement Division. “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.”
The people who’ve drowned so far this season span the age, gender and swimming ability spectrum. DNR safety officials offer the following tips for staying safe around the water.
- Wear a life jacket. All children, and adults should wear a life jacket anytime they’re around the water. Each year even adults who are good swimmers go under the water and never resurface.
- Avoid alcohol. Its effects are magnified on the water and the consequences can be deadly. About 40 percent of boating fatalities include alcohol.
- Designate a “water watcher.” This person puts down their cell phone or other distractions and focuses only on watching the water to ensure everyone is safe.
- Wade feet-first into the water to avoid jumping into an area where the current, depth and other conditions are unknown.
- Constantly supervise children while they’re in or near the water. Looking away even for a moment is enough time for tragedy to strike. Drowning often doesn’t involve yelling, screaming and waving of the arms. Rather, it often occurs silently.
- Swim only in designated swimming areas.