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Springtime Safety on the Water: Tips for Boaters and Paddlers






As the temperatures rise, the allure of Leech Lake and its surrounding waters becomes irresistible to boaters and paddlers alike. However, springtime brings its own set of challenges and risks on the water. To ensure a safe and enjoyable experience, it’s essential to follow some key safety tips.


  1. Wear a Life Jacket: This cannot be emphasized enough. Wearing a life jacket can save your life in the event of an accident or emergency. Make sure your life jacket fits properly and is approved by the U.S. Coast Guard.


  1. Check the Weather: Spring weather can be unpredictable in Northern Minnesota, with sudden storms and high winds. Check the weather forecast before heading out on the water and be prepared to change your plans if conditions deteriorate.


  1. Make a Float Plan: Let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return. This way, if you do not return as planned, help can be sent to your location.


  1. Be Aware of Cold Water Risks: Even in the spring, water temperatures can be dangerously cold. Cold water immersion can lead to hypothermia, so dress appropriately and be prepared for the conditions.


  1. Know the Rules of the Water: Familiarize yourself with the boating laws and regulations in the area. Know who has the right of way, speed limits, and other important rules to follow.


  1. Stay Alert and Sober: Alcohol impairs judgment and reaction time, increasing the risk of accidents on the water. Stay sober and alert while boating or paddling.


  1. Carry Safety Equipment: Always carry essential safety equipment, such as a whistle, flashlight, and first aid kit. These items can be lifesavers in an emergency.


  1. Be Cautious of Cold Shock: If you fall into cold water, the initial shock can be overwhelming. Try to control your breathing and focus on getting out of the water as quickly as possible.


  1. Use Navigation Lights: If you are boating at night, make sure your boat is equipped with the proper navigation lights. This helps other boaters see you and avoid collisions.


  1. Practice Good Seamanship: Follow basic boating rules, such as maintaining a safe speed, staying alert for other vessels, and avoiding distractions while on the water.


It’s also a good idea to take a boating safety course, especially if you are new to boating or paddling. These courses cover important safety information and regulations that can help you stay safe on the water.


By following these safety tips and staying aware of your surroundings, you can enjoy a safe and enjoyable boating or paddling experience on the beautiful waters of Leech Lake and its surrounding lakes area.


Need more information about the Leech Lake area? Contact the Leech Lake Chamber of Commerce! Don’t forget to download our “Explore Leech Lake” mobile app to access information about community events, our business directory, and more.


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