The weather this weekend for anglers is expected to be cold, especially Saturday morning.  Regardless of the temps outside, the Minnesota DNR says that water temperatures statewide are still below 70 degrees, cold enough to cause the gasp reflex and incapacitate even strong swimmers in less than one minute.

While wearing a life jacket is always the best thing to do anytime you're in a boat, it is the one action that significantly increases the chances of surviving a fall into cold water.  Just having it in your boat is not good enough when it comes to your safety, actually wearing it is crucial.

The Minnesota DNR says that more than 30 percent of boating fatalities occur on cold water, and accident records show the victims are disproportionately male, mostly between the ages of 20 and 60.

Before you head out, you should review boating regulations, inspect their watercraft and gear, enlist a mechanic to check exhaust systems for potential carbon monoxide leaks, and verify motorboats are equipped with the following:

  • U.S. Coast Guard-approved wearable life jackets for each person onboard (children under 10 must wear a properly fitting life jacket while underway).
  • A throwable flotation device on boats 16 feet or longer.
  • A horn or a whistle.
  • Type B, U.S. Coast Guard-approved fire extinguisher.
  • Navigation lights in working order.
  • Valid boat registration, with numbers visible.

Good luck out there and play it safe.