MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Three serious boating accidents over Memorial Day weekend — one of which was fatal — have deputies on the lookout for dangerous behavior.

Authorities in St. Louis County believe a fatal boat accident early Sunday morning on Lake Vermillion may have been due to an overload of passengers in a boat and not enough life vests.

The accident took the life of Casey Thomas Gilbert, 29, of Virginia, Minn.

In Lake County, authorities say a fishing boat collided with a houseboat on Birch Lake, injuring two people on Sunday evening.

And in Washington County, three people were rescued after a boat began to sink. The sheriff’s office reports a woman called 911 after she heard people yelling for help.

Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek says he is thankful nothing serious happened in his county over the weekend.

“It was a fairly slow weekend,” said Stanek. “We spent a lot of time helping educating residents and boaters about safety and gave safety advice. I hope that helped this weekend.”

NewsRadio 830 WCCO’s Edgar Linares Reports

Stanek said he’s not surprised to hear of so many accidents during the Memorial Day weekend. He says every year he hears of tragedies like the one in St. Louis County.

“These are all things that could’ve been prevented, tragically,” said Stanek. “Folks out boating don’t have enough lifejackets on the boat. That’s part of state law — if you’re going to be boating you need to have a personal flotation device or lifejacket for everyone on the boat.”

Over the weekend, Hennepin County stepped up patrols. The sheriff’s office reports one in every three drowning deaths in Minnesota involved alcohol.

“Boats crashing into each other, jet skis, people falling off docks, people not having enough lifejackets fall overboard, the water temperature is 55 or 60 degrees. These are all things that could be prevented with just a little common sense and safety,” said Stanek.


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