MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Even with the upcoming weekend heat wave, Minnesotans still need to take caution of cold water conditions while boating for the first time this season.

With lake temperatures in Minnesota still chilly due to the late ice-out, DNR officials recommend that all boaters, regardless of age, wear life jackets anytime they are aboard a boat.

“Wearing a life jacket is an important part of staying safe when the water is cold during the spring,” said Lisa Dugan, a DNR recreation safety outreach coordinator. “In the event of an unexpected fall or capsizing, having a life jacket on can make all the difference.”

More than 30 percent of all boating fatalities in Minnesota happen in the cold-water season, often with victims not wearing life jackets, the DNR says.

Officials are also urging boaters to make sure their watercraft are in legal and working order if they’re heading out over the weekend for the first time this season.

The following is a list of what boaters should have before they hit the water:

– Life jackets for all
– Type IV flotation devices 16 feet or longer
– Horn or whistle
– Fire extinguisher
– Working navigation lights
– Valid boat registration, with visible numbers
– Marine carbon monoxide detector

For more information on boat safety, click here.

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