The life jackets are found inside storage containers located at three public boat launch locations: Gray’s Bay, Spring Park Bay and Maxwell Bay.
“Life jackets save lives,” said Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek, “Putting a life jacket on a child is just as important as putting them in a seatbelt or car seat.”
Life jackets are especially important during spring and early summer recreation because of the chilly water conditions. All personnel at the Sheriff’s Water Patrol wear life jackets while patrolling by boat or while working near the water.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is reminding boaters that warmer weather does not mean warm water.
“For boaters and swimmers, our current water temperatures can prove dangerous, or even deadly, if they don’t consider the effect cold water has on their body,” said Capt. Greg Salo, Minnesota DNR. “Water temperature below 70 degrees is considered cold.”
Water temperatures on Lake Minnetonka are currently in the 60s, even though air temperatures this week have been in the 70s.
Safety reminders for boating:
- Boaters should slow down and make an extra effort to act in a courteous manner on crowded lakes and rivers.
- Designate a sober boat operator prior to your day of boating.
- State law requires that children under age 10 must wear a life jacket while the boat is underway. It is highly recommended that all children and adults wear life jackets during boating.
- State law requires that life jackets are readily accessible for all people on board the boat.
80 percent of boating deaths could have been prevented if the victims had been wearing life jackets. (U.S. Coast Guard estimate)
- Be aware of the danger of a boat propeller. People in the water, who are re-entering the boat, have been injured by props.
Safety reminders for swimming pools:
- WATCH your kids—Parents must use ACTIVE supervision when children are in or near the water. In 70 percent of cases where young children drowned, one or both parents were nearby. Being nearby isn’t enough. Parents must focus on kids and avoid distractions such as using cell phones or talking with other adults.
- Parent supervision is needed even when lifeguards on duty.
- WEAR a life jacket—Weak swimmers or non-swimmers should wear life jackets in the water, including swimming pools. Adult supervision is needed even when using a life jacket.
- Do not rely on water wings or other inflatable devices.
- LEARN to swim & learn about water safety—teach your kids to swim. Adults must know how to swim too.
- Keep safety equipment near pools, such as a shepherd’s hook. If attempting a rescue, hand something to the struggling person or pull them to safety with the hook.
- Use safety precautions with backyard kiddie pools. (One child drowns every five days in portable pools.)
- Learn CPR and learn more about water safety.