Most Common Boating Accidents in Minnesota

July 03, 2018 10:20 PM

As Minnesotans head into one of the busiest boating days of the year, there’s an important number to keep in mind: 92.

That’s how many non-fatal boating accidents there were last year – the highest number since 2007.


RELATED: Water and Boating Safety Tips

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS analyzed data from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Coast Guard to see the most common types of accidents on Minnesota lakes, and what’s causing them.

That data breaks down boating incidents from 2005 to 2015. 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS arranged the data in an easy-to-use map. Zoom in below on the lake or river you would like to examine to see the incidents that occurred there during the 2005-2015 time frame.

Topping off the list, by a long shot: Lake Minnetonka. It had the highest number of accidents or incidents during that time period throughout the state.

“It can be very congested. It can be like rush hour traffic in Minneapolis, but out on the lake,” said Lt. Kent Vnuck with the Hennepin County Water Patrol Unit.

According to the state’s data, there were 76 injuries on Lake Minnetonka and five deaths.

The most common accident were collisions with boats or objects. There was 63 in total.

On Lake Minnetonka, excessive speed was listed most often as the cause.

“There are thousands of boaters out here. There are a lot of boats out there and you do have to be paying attention. You have to be looking around all the time,” Vnuck said.

Other bodies of water 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS examined include the St. Croix River.

During the same time period, there were 52 boating incidents, leading to 18 injuries and one death.

27 of the incidents were the result of collisions.

“Drive slower than you normally do,” Vnuck recommends. “Be more aware of where you're driving, be looking 360 degrees, just be courteous of other boaters. Know the boating laws and who has the right of way.”

Other popular lakes analyzed include Lake Mille Lacs, where four people have died in the last decade and 11 injured.

Prior Lake had eight deaths, with excessive speed being a common cause.

Up in Gull Lake, there were eight collisions between 2005 and 2015. That lake experienced seven injuries and one death.


Ryan Raiche

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