MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Ahead of the Memorial Day weekend, state officials are encouraging those heading out on boats to be sure to wear life jackets, as lake waters across the state are still cold.

The Department of Natural Resources said Friday that water temperatures on Minnesota lakes are generally around the 50-degree mark, cold enough to cause a gasp reflex and hinder the abilities of even experienced swimmers.

Officials say that wearing a life jacket significantly increases survival chances in the event someone suddenly falls into the water.

According to DNR records, about one-third of boating fatalities in Minnesota happen in cold water, with the victims disproportionately adult men.

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