MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Officers across the state are stepping up patrols on Minnesota lakes this holiday weekend.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reports this year’s boating season has been the most deadly since 2005, with nine boating fatalities already.
Last year, alcohol was a factor in more than half of the 17 deadly boating accidents in Minnesota.
On Saturday afternoon, DNR conservation officers Brent Grewe, Jackie Glaser and Mitch Sladek were patrolling Lake Minnetonka.
Lake Minnetonka is one of the largest in the state.
“We just want to encourage everyone to be safe out here this weekend,” Grewe said.
Grewe said his team looks for violations having to do with alcohol, but also safety measures like life jackets, fire extinguishers, and sound devices.
While some oversights on the part of boaters might seem minor, Grewe said they can mean the difference between life or death.
Increased patrols will continue through the weekend.
Over the past five years, an average of 42 percent of fatal boating accidents in Minnesota were alcohol-related.
For more information about Minnesota state boating laws click here.