Minnesota boating deaths in 2017 are on pace to be the highest in more than a decade, according to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). As law enforcement authorities increase patrols on the state’s lakes and rivers, they emphasize that two safety measures many boaters fail to heed go a long way toward preventing boating deaths:
- Do not drink alcohol and operate a boat.
- Everyone on any type of watercraft should wear a life jacket.
A Deadly Boating Season
Nine boating deaths have been recorded in Minnesota in 2017 through the end of June, more than any other point during the same period since 2005. All of the victims this year have been men. Investigators are determining whether alcohol played a role in their deaths. The DNR reports only one of the victims was wearing a life jacket.
A total of 17 people died in Minnesota boating-related accidents last year. Boating-related deaths set a 10-year high in 2015 with 18 fatalities. The DNR reports that 21 nonfatal boating accidents have occurred this year and there have been nine drownings not related to boating in Minnesota in 2017.
“Simply doing nothing else but putting on a life jacket, 10 lives would be saved a year,” DNR Lt. Adam Block told the Star Tribune. “Our odds of surviving are dramatically increased, just like wearing a seat belt [in a car].”
Other Boating Safety Tips
In addition to wearing a life jacket and boating sober, these tips will help keep boaters safe through the rest of the season:
- Follow speed limits – know the posted speed limits and follow them.
- Keep your boat properly maintained – Make sure your boat is working properly before you take it out on the water. If an accident occurs because a boat was not properly maintained, the owner could face a negligence lawsuit.
- Don’t overload your boat – A boat that is overloaded, whether it is people or equipment, is more likely to capsize. All boats have weight load capacities posted.
- Know what to do in emergencies – Play all possible emergency occurrences through in your head and know how you should respond.
- Pay attention to weather – Getting caught on the water in rough weather can be dangerous. There are plenty of ways to obtain up-o-date forecasts and even monitor weather conditions while on the water.
No matter how safe you are while boating, accidents occur and injuries frequently result from these accidents. If you or a loved one is seriously injured while boating in Minnesota or Wisconsin due to someone else’s negligence, or if a family member is killed due to someone else’s negligence, the experienced legal team at Law Firm will protect your rights and maximize the amount you recover in a personal injury lawsuit.