The Dangers of Boating
Falls overboard and capsizing are the number one cause of death while boating. In a small boat, resist the urge to stand up. If you must move around, keep your weight low and close to the center of the craft.
Collisions with a second boat or another object don’t just happen. They are usually the result of inattention, fatigue, and a lack of knowledge about local water conditions.
Wear your personal flotation device (PFD or life jacket), especially in small boats. Approved PFDs are now stylish, comfortable and practical. Models are available for all ages and for various boating activities. Wearing your PFD is the best “life insurance” policy afloat. Inflatable toys are no substitutes for life jackets or for swimming skills. Learn how to swim, know your swimming ability, and supervise youngsters around the water.
If someone is in trouble in the water, use elementary rescue methods first, such as throwing something that floats to the victim. Only as a last resort should you ever enter the water to save someone. Even then, take a buoyant object like a PFD with you.
Keep an eye on the weather, especially on larger lakes such as Otter Tail. Obtain up-to-date weather information from a marine band radio, AM radio, or by simply watching the sky. (Most bad weather in Minnesota comes from the west or southwest.) If you are caught in rough weather, put on your PFD, keep low in your boat and head for the closest shore. In heavy waves, your boat handles best when you head into the waves at an angle.
Before you leave on a boating or fishing trip, let someone know where you are going and when you will return. If you run into trouble, this will assist authorities in looking for you.