ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP/WCCO) — Safety experts are urging Minnesota boaters, paddlers and swimmers to think twice before heading out on the water right now.

The Department of Natural Resources says people must be especially cautious around high water, wear life jackets and be aware of local flooding conditions and alerts. And people should not venture into flooded areas.

Boat and water safety specialist Kara Owens says rivers, lakes and streams are extremely swollen across Minnesota, and water temperatures are colder than normal.

Owens says stream and river currents are extremely strong, which many boaters and swimmers aren’t used to. And she says boaters should be aware that there’s more debris in the water.

“Debris will often float just at or below the surface,” Owens said. “Hitting a log at high speed could result in damage to boats or serious injuries.”

Three people have died in boating accidents so far this year

A no-wake zone is currently in effect on rivers and lakes around the metro. Minneapolis locks on the Mississippi River are also closed to recreational and commercial traffic.

For more information from the DNR, click here.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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