Minnesota Boating Safety Tips
Summer is fast approaching, and those lucky enough to own a boat (or know someone who does) will be anxious to hit the water on those sweltering Minnesota summer days to cool off. Knowing your way around boat safety is absolutely essential if you wish to remain safe and enjoy your time on the water. (And we want you to enjoy your time on the water!)
Every year in the United States, hundreds of lives are lost, thousands of people are injured, and millions of dollars of property damage occurs because of preventable recreational boating accidents. Whether you are a boat operator or passenger, you can take control of your safety while boating and make a difference to these statistics.
Make Sure Your Boat is Safe
The first step to safe boating is to make sure your boat itself is safe. Both the US Coast Guard Auxiliary and the United States Power Squadrons have certified vessel examiners who can perform a free vessel Safety Check (VSC), normally traveling to wherever your boat is located. There is no charge and no consequences if you don’t pass – you’ll simply be informed if there are any safety problems with your boat.
The next step is to ensure you have enough US Coast Guard-approved life jackets on board your boat for each person aboard. Modern life jackets are available in a variety of shapes, colors and sizes, and many are thin and flexible. Some are even inflatable, only filling with air once they hit the water. There is no excuse not to wear a life jacket while boating!
Adult-size life jackets are not appropriate for children. Minnesota law requires all children under 10 years of age to wear a lifejacket when the watercraft is underway (not tied up at a dock.) To fit correctly, a life jacket must fit snugly and not allow the child’s chin or ears to slip through. Look for life jackets with weight ratings (i.e. 30 to 50lbs) to find the right jackets for your children or child passengers. Boats sized 16ft or over must also carry at least type IV throw able device as well.
Online Minnesota Boating Courses
Finally, there is no substitute for adequate training to ensure safety on the water. Many boating safety courses are offered in Minnesota, for all types of recreational boaters of all ages. Course may cover topics from boat handling to reading the weather, providing a foundation of operational and safety instruction. Even if you are an experienced boater, if you plan to operate a boat this summer, there’s no excuse not to learn the latest in boating safety. Check out some of these online courses approved by the United States Coast Guard: Online boating safety courses
We are all about keeping you and your boats safe! Need to make sure your boat has anti-fouling protection? Read our blog post to find out if your Minnesota boat needs this protection!