DNR stresses safety after deadly few weeks on the water

In early June, several trout anglers drowned trying to fish for trout in a river that is closed to fishing at this time of year.

In recent months, there have been multiple reports of tragedy at or adjacent to swimming pools and lakes in Michigan. There have been drownings, injuries, and deaths. All within 2 weeks.

The start of Minnesota’s open water season has been deadly.

Until the 16th. Nine people were involved in fatal boat accidents in June. This preliminary figure is the highest at this point in the year in over a decade.

In addition, more people than average drowned at places like beaches and swimming pools.

Officials with the Minnesota Department of Environmental Protection are reminding everyone near the water that safety must come first.

The start of the summer season is traditionally a very active time of year on the water. This year was even more active than usual, especially the last few days as people sought a break from an unusually long string of above-average temperatures. Unfortunately, the increased activity also led to an unusually high number of people unable to get out of the water.

There are too many families who will not see their loved ones again, said Lt. Adam Block, a boating rights administrator in the enforcement division of the DNR. Everyone on the water must do everything possible to ensure safety and prevent a tragedy from becoming a fun activity.

The people who have drowned so far this season are of different ages, genders and swimming abilities. DNR officials offer the following water safety tips.

Wear a life jacket. All children and adults should always wear a life jacket when near water. Every year, even adults who can swim well end up underwater and don’t surface.

Avoid alcohol. The effects are amplified on water and can be fatal. About 40% of fatal accidents at sea are alcohol-related.

Appoint a water supervisor. This person puts aside their cell phone or other distractions and focuses solely on monitoring the water to make sure everyone is safe.

Enter the water with your feet first to avoid jumping into the water in areas where the current, depth and other conditions are unknown.

Supervise children at all times when they are in or near water. Even looking away for a moment is enough to cause a tragedy. Drownings are often not accompanied by screaming, yelling and waving arms. On the contrary, it often happens in a discreet manner.

Swim only in designated areas.