Waterfowl boat safety tips
- Minnesota law requires a readily accessible U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket for every person on waterfowl boats.
- For boats 16 feet and longer, there must be one U.S. Coast Guard approved flotation seat cushion on board, to throw to someone in distress.
- Seat cushions are no longer approved as primary flotation devices. Everyone on the boat needs a wearable life jacket of the proper size and type.
Waterfowlers with several types of life jackets made for hunters.
- Wear a life jacket - 10 lives could be saved in Minnesota each year by wearing life jackets.
- Avoid alcohol. Booze and boating don't mix.
- Hunt with a companion or group, staying within visual or voice contact. Boating safety increases with numbers.
- File a float plan. Leave it with a friend or relative. Include a description of your boat and equipment, names of passengers, planned destination and route, expected return and when and who to call if overdue.
- Keep an eye on the sky. No boater should ever start out in a storm. Check the forecast before heading out on the water.
- Be prepared by acquainting yourself with the area.
- Carry a cell phone or radio for emergency communication, but keep in mind you may not have service in a remote area.
- Make sure the boat has enough fuel. No boater wants to be stranded on the water.
- Prevent capsizing. Reduce speed in rough water, load carefully, secure loads from shifting and adjust for changing conditions. Wait for poor weather to improve.
- Prevent falls overboard. Remain seated while underway, wear non-skid foot wear and avoid reaching overboard for objects.
- Take a boater safety course and receive a boater education certificate.
Download Water Safety for Duck Hunters, a free publication about waterfowl hunting boat safety.