A Little Advice
Take your Mom fishing for Mother’s Day! Hope all of you Mom’s have a great day. Sorry I didn’t get this out to all of you before the opener!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Boating safety tips for fishing opener (May 4, 2009)
For many Minnesotans, the opening of the inland walleye and northern fishing season on May 9 also marks the beginning of a new boating season. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) recommends a pre-launch review of safety equipment and regulations for a safe start to the season.
Minnesota law requires a wearable personal flotation device for each person on any boat. Most boats have requirements for lighting, signaling device, fire extinguisher and other equipment. Regulations and safety recommendations are listed in the Minnesota Boating Guide, available online or by calling 651-296-6157 or toll free 888-646-6367.
“Take a few minutes to think about safety as you’re preparing your boat and fishing equipment,” said Tim Smalley, DNR boating safety specialist. “It’s a small investment of time that could save your life or that of a family member.”
Minnesota law requires a U.S. Coast Guard approved wearable personal flotation device (PFD), more commonly known as a life jacket or life vest, for each person on the boat. The vest has to be of the correct size and type for the person for whom it is intended. Also required is a throwable flotation device (called a Type IV) like a boaters’ seat cushion on boats 16 feet or longer. Children under 10 are now required to wear a life jacket unless they are below decks such as in a houseboat or are swimming or diving from an anchored boat.
“The number one reason people die in boating accidents is that they’re not wearing a life jacket,” Smalley said.
U.S. Coast Guard approved inflatable life vests or foam vests with a mesh material at the shoulder area are comfortable even on the hottest Minnesota summer day. New styles of life jackets are stylish, comfortable and easy to wear. Even though adults aren’t required to wear a life vest on most boats, it is the one thing that could save their life, especially in a cold water situation.
Most boating fatalities involve capsizing and falls overboard, and almost all of the victims had swimming ability. Unfortunately, that ability wasn’t enough to save them from the gasp that is brought on by cold water shock. If your head is underwater when you experience that sudden reflexive gasp, you’re probably going to drown, unless you’re wearing your life jacket.
After sunset and before sunrise, motorboats must be illuminated by red and green bow lights and a white stern light visible from 360 degrees. While at anchor, motorboats are required to be illuminated by the white stern light. Lights should be placed so they aren’t blocked by passengers or equipment, such as mounted trolling motors or canopies on pontoon boats. If you can’t be seen at night, you may get hit by another boater.
Many motorboats are required to carry a U.S Coast Guard approved fire extinguisher. Be sure to check that they are fully charged by looking at the dial.
HORN OR WHISTLE
Boats 16 feet or longer must carry a whistle or horn capable of producing a sound for at least two seconds that can be heard for at least one mile.
SPARE PARTS AND TOOLS
Although not a legal requirement, handy equipment includes spare parts like spark plugs and shear pins (if your motor uses them), and an anchor to drop to keep you from being blown onto the rocks. And don’t forget to put in the drain plug before you launch!
Fatal errors in judgment brought on by beer and booze can cause trouble long before you reach the .08 level of intoxication. It is expensive to make as well. If you are caught operating your boat under the influence you may incur lawyer fees, fines, civil penalties and a conviction for boating while intoxicated. Such a conviction goes on your auto driver’s license record and may affect your insurance rates for years to come.
Just a few minutes of time and the proper precautions can make a big difference in preventing tragedies on the water.