Summer is well underway and everyone is enjoying beautiful, fun days swimming in the lakes and rivers or taking boat, kayak and jet ski tours. But while these bodies of water can be a source of summer fun, they can also be dangerous with high tides, flash floods and violent currents that can turn a fun trip into a horrific accident. Polk County Sheriff’s Deputy Tom Brault, who leads the Polk County Sheriff’s Office’s Boat and Water Patrol Unit, offered various safety tips on how to stay safe in water and on your boats during the summer.

Deputy Brault explained that the most important thing that can help you stay safe on the waters is to be prepared with safety items, even if you are going on a short cruise or not going very quick. “I think the life jacket is probably your biggest lifeline. This would be my main recommendation for this. Then you should also have other additional safety equipment in your boat. We have disposable personal flotation devices (PFDs) that you should have in there, as well as fire extinguishers, some type of signaling device, like a light or a whistle,” Deputy Tom Brault explained. “A lot of boats these days have horns, but for small fishing boats it would be a good idea to have a marine horn. They’re not very expensive, and you can just throw them in there just in case. where something would happen so you can call for help. Of course, the best way to be prepared for an accident is to prevent it from happening, and Deputy Brault tells all boaters about the lakes and rivers to monitor their speed and surroundings to avoid accidents.” Your speed and running pace is the most important factor in many things. If you get on other boats, or if you’re especially wary of kayakers, jet skis and water skiers, you should reduce your speed when approaching any other craft,” explained Deputy Minister Brault. “So slowing down, especially if we’re in a crowded lake, there’s a lot of boats going around, and not everyone is going to be careful, and that’s a recipe for disaster. Slowing down is key and watching where you are turning and being aware of things all around you and any other obstacles. MP Brault encourages boaters to be aware of marked areas for safety and no-wake markers placed around lakes or rivers to avoid hitting rocks, shallow areas or other boats in narrow passages and to slow down or avoid these areas to avoid accidents, debris or damage that could be inflicted on their boats. So many things that can damage a boat, like a log or debris, can mostly be submerged underwater and not be seen. For those traveling along the river, MP Brault warns citizens that Red Lake River the levels are high and have fast currents, although it doesn’t seem that way with the low wind speeds, and recommend people not swim there at this time.

The Polk County Sheriff‘s Water and Boat Patrol is primarily on the water to help keep people safe, but just like officers who patrol the streets, there are some things they will be looking out for. Their most common violation is people accelerating on their personal watercraft (PWC) and driving them within 150 feet of shore, as you need to be at slow or no-wake speeds near shorelines as wakes can damage docks, cause shoreline erosion. , and pose a hazard to children playing near the shore. “With the water being higher this year, there are even more problems with erosion and damage to beaches, so if you have these deep wakes hitting the shore, you can misplace docks and damage personal property. that way. You can also cause environmental issues with soil erosion which over time just keeps eroding more and more and then the docks get misplaced and things break,” the deputy explained. Minister Brault. “With the wakes close to shore, you have to keep in mind that a lot of people have huts here, and there are little ones swimming around, and even though it’s protected, if you’re outside the swimming area, if you’re creating a big wake, that’s going to go a long way, then you have little ones that get tossed around and maybe get hurt too Another common violation that the patrol has been faced is the overcapacity of the boats, noting that any jet ski or tube rem orque by a boat or jet ski counts against the capacity of the watercraft, which means the watercraft will not be able to hold everyone or have enough emergency equipment in case of an emergency. The last common violation of the patrol is mainly the operating hours of personal watercraft, mainly with jet skis, because they cannot go out half an hour before sunset at 9 am. Brault also says boaters should have their registration up to date and have the decals and letters displayed clearly on the side of their boat and have the letters contrast with the color of the boat so the patrol can see them.

If your boat begins to take on water, but you are still able to move the boat, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office recommends going ashore immediately to try to assess the problem that is causing the water enters your boat. If your boat capsizes, use your PFDs and some sort of signal like a light or whistle to be found by the boat patrol or another nearby boat. If you come across someone who needs help and you have the ability to help, don’t hesitate to call 911 and try to help in some way, even if they don’t. it’s just checking, because it can be the precious seconds it takes to help someone.

Summer is a fantastic opportunity to be by Minnesota’s many lakes and rivers on boats, kayaks and jet skis, but remember to watch out for others on the waters and help others if you can.


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