MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Now that the ice is out, a lot of people are getting ready to put their boats on lakes and rivers.

But the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources says not so fast.

Conservation officers say it’s important to make sure your boat is ready for the season. And they want to remind boaters the water is still very cold and can be dangerous.

If someone falls into cold water, they’re more likely to gasp and fill their lungs with water.

DNR Officer Adam Block wants boaters to make a safety checklist before boating this spring.

“Make sure you have life jackets that are adequate size and functioning shape and condition,” Block said. “You want to make sure other equipment is on board as required, such as a horn or a whistle to alert other boaters of your location.”

Officer Block says last year, 13 of the 14 people who died in boating accidents were not wearing life jackets.

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