With lake ice on its way out this season, the DNR is reminding everyone around lakes, rivers and ponds that cold water is dangerous and to avoid unexpected falls.
Around 30 percent of fatal boating accidents each year are during the cold-water period, with many victims not wearing a life jacket.
“So many of us wait impatiently all winter to get back on the water,” said Lt. Adam Block, boating law administrator for the DNR Enforcement division.
“It can be easy to let your guard down because you’re so excited, but the reality is failing to double down on safety this time of year can have disastrous consequences.”
The DNR recommends foam-filled life jackets for boaters and paddlers on early-season open water. Inflatable lifejackets might not fully inflate when the water is cold.
Recreationists are also urged to take proper care that functioning safety equipment is on board and weight on the watercraft is distributed equally.