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Life Jackets Can Make Life-Or-Death Difference In Unexpected Boat Events

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Authorities are reminding boaters to be careful on the water after a vessel submerged at Voyageurs National Park Sunday night.

According to St. Louis County Sheriff's Department, three adults and a 7-year-old were rescued in Namakan Lake after their boat sunk due to exceeding the boat weight limit.

All four Crystal residents wore lifejackets. Boaters nearby were able to rescue the group before authorities showed up.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources says lifejackets can mean the difference between life and death.

Lisa Dugan, the recreation safety outreach coordinator, explained lifejackets are one of the most overlooked safety precautions.

"People are just not wearing life jackets," Dugan said. "They may be bringing them with. But just like a seatbelt in the car, you don't have time put on a lifejacket before an accident happens."

Dugan also insists boaters to look at the weight capacity of the boat to avoid capsizing.

"When a boat is weighed down, it can affect steering on it. It's not operating like it should be properly," Dugan said.

Most importantly, if you plan on heading out on the water, leave the alcohol behind or designate a sober ride on both water and road.

"Almost always half of boating fatalities involve alcohol," she said.

According to the DNR, there have been nine boating fatalities as of June 13. There were seven this same time last year.


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