MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — Thus far in 2020, there have been seven Minnesotan boating fatalities, which is two more than in all of 2019 and the same amount as 2018.
The topic is once again in the spotlight a week and a half after an Elysian man docking his boat was struck and killed by a boater on Otter Tail Lake in northern Minnesota.
”There are not necessarily speed limits, per se, but there are operational guidelines that require you to operate in control, safely and to not put other people in jeopardy,” said Minnesota DNR Conservation Officer Chris Howe.
Howe says the best thing a new boater can do is pick up a Minnesota 2020 Boating Guide — it details rules and courtesies of the water that aren’t really well known.
For example, jet skis and any boat powered with a jet powerhead handle differently from your everyday boat.
”They only steer properly when it’s under power,” said Howe. “If you’re a novice operator and you get into a situation where you’re riding above your abilities or you’re in an emergency situation, the first thing you might think of is to let off on the gas and steer away. In reality, if you let up on the gas, you are giving up your ability to steer that.”
If you get stopped on a lake, most of the time it’s just to check if you have your necessities for your own safety.
”When things are not an immediate safety concern, most of the time we will try to educate folks as a first priority and help folks be in compliance their next time out,” added Howe.