May 15, 2020
How to Boat Safely This Summer
In order to keep citizens safe from the novel Coronavirus, the first phase of Minnesota’s Stay at Home Order was recently extended until May 18. However, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has granted permission to boaters to get back on the water as long as they are following proper social distancing etiquette.
As boaters hear this exciting news and prepare for the summer days ahead on the water, they need to ensure that they consider these helpful tips to stay safe on the lake this year.
Rodmen Smith, the DNR Enforcement Division director stated, “As Minnesotans, we have a natural urge to get outside this time of year – and for many of us, that’s especially true this spring. We constantly remind people about ways they can stay safe while they’re on the water. In light of COVID-19, we also ask this year that you take additional steps to protect yourself, your family, and the people around you.”
Despite how warm the air is outside, there is one common theme around this time of year: the water in our lakes is dangerously cold. If a boater is to accidentally fall in the water, it can turn an inconvenient situation into something much more hazardous. A fall into cold water will not only shock a person’s system; it can lead to uncontrollable breathing, gasping, and eventual drowning if water is inhaled into the lungs.
The best way to prevent any of these horrific scenarios from happening is to always wear a life jacket on the water. This means actually wearing the life jacket, not just having it stowed in the boat in case of emergencies.
Another way to ensure your safety is to never boat alone. Always let others know where you plan on heading and when you intend to return. Ensure that the floor of the boat is empty and free of items that could be tripped on.
Social Distancing While Boating
Understanding the guidelines put into place by Minnesota’s DNR is one great way to keep yourself safe on the water during this Pandemic. These guidelines include:
- Maintain a social distance of at least 6 feet between you and other individuals. This includes places such as fuel stations and community docks and means no beaching or tying up to other boats.
- Only allow members of your immediate household in your boat
- Stay close to home when boating
- When refilling your boat’s fuel, wash your hands before and after touching the handle. If soap and water is not accessible to you, use a hand sanitizer. Refrain from touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- When launching and loading your boat, give people ahead of you plenty of time and space to finish launching or loading before you approach.