How to Stay Safe on the Water this Fourth of July

Even if you're a pro behind the wheel, safety is something everyone should be aware of

DETROIT LAKES, Minn. — As we head into the holiday week, boating professionals want you to stay safe while also having fun.

It’s that time of year to pull your boats out from hiding and get them back in action on the lakes.

But before you start driving, make sure everything you need is still there.

“A lot of the ones I stop don’t have the safety equipment that’s required,” said Ben Weidemann, the Boat and Water Deputy for Becker County.

Becker County’s Boat and Water Deputy Ben Weidmann says many people lose crucial pieces during those cold months.

“They’re driving down the road and it’ll fly out. You’ll see life jackets along the side of the road,” Weidemann said.

Even if you’re a pro behind the wheel, safety is something everyone should be aware of.

“You never know what’s going to happen out there you got to make sure you have everything cause anything can happen with the boats and you can’t predict what other people are going to do either so you need to make sure you’re well prepared,” said Jackson Haire, who works the dock in Detroit Lakes.

Especially as we head into the Fourth of July.

You may be used to steering a boat out on open and empty water but professionals say once you’re out on the lakes with hundreds of other drivers, that experience can be very different.

“You want to be a lot more cautious of what’s going on. You can’t probably drive as fast especially you need to look out for a lot of people tubing, surfing, skiing, people in the water swimming, as well,” Haire said.

Even though many will be drinking to celebrate the holiday, those who choose to be captain of the boat need to stay away from the booze.

“Because of the population of how many people are on the water during the holiday, is that if anybody’s operating not to have a drop,” Weidemann said.

Also remember, it’s not like driving a car.

“I see a lot of people out there trying to quickly throw it in reverse instead of breaking,” Haire said.

Life jackets are required to be worn by anyone 10 and under.

“People aren’t too keen on that. Their like oh my eight year old he can swim and stuff. He’s still required to have the life jacket on when the boats under power,” Weidemann said.

Things like jet skiis also have different rules than boats.

“They have to be off the water an hour before sunset so make sure you look at your clock and make sure you know what time you need to be off,” Weidemann said.

Whether you are steering into the open water or jumping in with your friends, everyone should be extra cautious this holiday.

Professionals also say having a map of the lake is helpful.

Many boaters scrape the bottom of their machines by driving into shallow areas.

Categories: Community, Health, Local News, Minnesota News