DNR offers boating safety tips for Memorial Day weekend, summer

DNR’s tips for boating safely this season

DNR's tips for boating safely this season

With the holiday weekend almost here, law enforcement agencies are reminding Minnesotans to plan ahead and help ensure the memories made this weekend and throughout the summer aren’t tragic ones.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) notes that anglers and paddlers have already been on the water for weeks, but Memorial Day weekend represents the traditional start of recreational boating season.

“Our waterways are the crown jewel of Minnesota’s great outdoors, and the number of people who use them is truly remarkable,” said Lisa Dugan, a recreation safety outreach coordinator for the DNR’s enforcement division. “There’s nothing like memories made on the water, and a little preparation goes a long way toward ensuring they’re positive memories.”

With that in mind, the DNR is urging anyone planning to be on the water to follow some important safety tips:

  • Wear a life jacket — The DNR says 90% of boating fatality victims don’t wear a life jacket, and state law requires kids under 10 to wear a life jacket while boating.
  • Be sober when boating — Not only is alcohol the biggest factor in fatal boating accidents, it’s also illegal to operate a boat while under the influence.
  • Check safety equipment — Make sure life jackets fit and are in good condition, and the boat’s navigation lights, sound devices, fire extinguishers, carbon monoxide detectors and engine cut-off all work.
  • Be aware of high water levels — The DNR says many parts of the state have higher water levels this year, which can make it difficult to access lakes and hide hazards under the water’s surface.
  • Be mindful of your wake — Large wakes can cause environmental damage and also endanger others on the water. Some lakes also have wake restrictions in place that could result in a fine.
  • Brush up on the rules — The DNR’s boating guide is available online and online education courses are also available.
A map of lake temperatures across Minnesota ahead of the 2023 Memorial Day weekend.