DULUTH, MN -- The week leading up to Memorial Day has traditionally been National Safe Boating Week since the 1950's. This year, boaters have even more safety tips to remember thanks to COVID 19.
In the excitement to get back on the water, many boaters forget the rules of safety. Members of the Coast Guard family see that all the time every spring. To prevent the worst, President Eisenhower proclaimed an annual national safe boating week in 1958. The prime safety tip is wear your life jacket at all times rather than hoping to get it on in an emergency.
"It's better to wear it because the water is very cold right now as we start the season." said Steve Daniel of Duluth's Coast Guard Auxiliary flotilla.
The rules and laws for boating are many and one modern way to find them is with the Coast Guard's free phone ap. It can also be used to report an emergency.
"The Coasties of the Northland's search and rescue teams here hope that folks do get the safety ap, pay attention to it and keep their summer easy going without troubles." said reporter Dave Anderson at a boat landing on Park Point.
And skippers should take a safe boating class.
"I would encourage people to take a boating safety class from the Coast Guard Auxiliary or the U.S. Power Squadron." said Auxiliarist Steve Daniel on a dock at Coast Guard Station Duluth.
This year may be the most important NSBW ever because now boaters have to worry about their health as much as their on the water safety. COVID-19 is forcing everyone to navigate uncharted waters, including boaters. The Minnesota DNR, for example, urges anglers to boat close to home. They say there should be no overnight stays, bring all needed supplies with you, and only go as far as you can travel and return on a single tank of gas or single charge for EV drivers.
Our region has Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotillas in International Falls, Duluth and Bayfield. All offer free vessel safety checks during the boating season.