NEAR ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- It's a scary statistic, one that is affecting many families across the state. According to the Department of Natural Resources more than 24 people have died on local waterways this summer, a number that is significantly higher than last year, for so early in the boating season.
An afternoon of fun on the lake can quickly turn deadly. It's the thrill of adventure, the art of relaxing that often results in reckless boating. Ron Dunnette, an outdoor enthusiast, knows how irresponsible some boaters can be.
"People get a little loose, they don't pay attention to where the other traffic is coming, maybe they take a wake, just getting wild on the water," explained Dunnette.
So what can you do to not only obey boating safety and regulations, but also keep your family safe on the water? Scott Kunz, with Universal Marine and RV said it all starts with education.
"Know your throttles and your controls. Making sure how they operate and what neutral is and what neutral isn't," explained Kunz.
As the driver of the boat, you have a lot of responsibility.
"Know what the safety tether is for, so that if you do fall out of the boat the boat shuts off. A lot of people will fall out of the boat and then the boat is still running and the boat is going in circles and pretty soon it's going to hit somebody," stated Kunz.
So maybe you're a pro at boating, but are you following the rules? Do you have enough life jackets? Is everyone under the age of 13 wearing their life vest? Are they accessible?
"People don't realize that your life jackets aren't just supposed to be in a compartment hidden, they need to be out and accessible, your throw able should be out and accessible. A lot of drowning deaths happen in seconds, you don't have time to get into the compartments and get that stuff out," said Kunz.
What about drinking and driving? Boating is recreational, right? The reality, is that getting caught driving a boat drunk, is the same as if it were a car. It's a DUI, a serious offense.
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