Skip to main content

Prepare for cold water: These 2 hunters made it after their boat capsized

You're required by law to have a life jacket for every person on board a boat in Minnesota.

A lot of you Minnesotans are still enjoying your time out on the water before things freeze over.

But even though some parts of Minnesota haven't dipped below freezing yet, temps have been chilly and the water is cold – meaning if you fall in, it's even more imperative you have some sort of life jacket.

Case in point: This incident with two hunters out of Cass County.

A couple of men out duck hunting early Tuesday on Leech Lake were thrown into the water after their boat capsized. It was just after 6 a.m. – so still dark, chilly and windy. Deputies used cellphone mapping technology to pinpoint the hunters' location, and when they got there, they found the men on top of the capsized boat.

Both of them had on "floatable type coats."

Wear. Your. Life. Jacket.

Which brings us to the bigger point here.

Last year, half of all boating deaths in Minnesota happened on cold water, DNR figures showed. (Usually it's around 30 percent of all fatalities.) Men are the most common victims.

And with duck hunters and fall fishermen out, the Cass County Sheriff's Office is stressing preparation. Their post has tips for how to dress, how to test out your gear, and a list of things you should still be able to do while wearing all that gear.

"With few exceptions, cold shock causes people to immediately lose control of their breathing. As a result, many of them suddenly drown – even though they can swim," the sheriff's office wrote.

Water temps below 70 degrees are considered "cold." The DNR said life jackets are especially important during the "cold water" season – that's April, May, October and November – because of how your body reacts to the sudden temperature plunge.

“The shock of falling into cold water triggers your gasp reflex, which more than likely means inhaling water,” Debbie Munson Badini, boating safety representative with the Minnesota DNR, said this spring. "Wearing a life jacket gives you a fighting chance to get your head above water, stay calm instead of panicking, and call for help before hypothermia sets in."

In Minnesota, a "readily accessible and wearable life jacket" is required for each person on board a boat, and children under 10 are required to wear one. Boats 16 feet or longer also need a throwable flotation device on board.

And the DNR said you should actually wear the life-saving device – not just have it onboard. Putting on a life jacket is the one action that "significantly increases" your chances of survival if you fall into cold water, the agency said.

Next Up

image

Charges: Driver had been drinking at party before striking teens, killing one

The victims were walking home from Walmart at the time of the crash, according to court documents.

Screen Shot 2023-01-30 at 4.32.08 PM

State: Beltrami County Jail conditions present imminent risk of 'life-threatening harm'

The state is taking action to force changes at the Beltrami County Jail.

BrillyCarchiGoFundMe

Tributes to 15-year-old girl killed in Burnsville crash

The teenager was a student at Burnsville High School.

police lights

Charges: New Ulm couple abused young children with cruel punishments

Warning: The following contains upsetting details about child abuse.

Screen Shot 2023-01-30 at 1.18.29 PM

Boy reels in 9.5lb walleye, wins pickup truck at Brainerd ice fishing tourney

Contestants come from all over the country compete in the annual event held in Brainerd.

ArrowheadRace

Arrowhead 135 ultramarathon in northern MN kicks off in -25F temperatures

The race is considered one of the 50 most challenging races in the world.

Related

Prepare for cold water: These 2 hunters made it after their boat capsized

You're required by law to have a life jacket for every person on board a boat in Minnesota.

Watch what it's like to spend a year living in the Boundary Waters

What it was like to spend fall, winter, spring and summer living in the Boundary Waters.

Watch what it's like to spend a year living in the Boundary Waters

What it was like to spend fall, winter, spring and summer living in the Boundary Waters.

Couple returns after a year exploring the Boundary Waters

The Freemans spent the year in the wild to bring attention to what they say are threats from proposed mines.

Teenage duck hunters rescued after boat capsizes

Four teenage duck hunters are OK after being rescued from the chilly water of Three Island Lake in northern Minnesota. Beltrami County authorities say the young men were thrown into about 10 to 12 feet of water after the boat capsized Monday night.

Pelicans are coming back to Minnesota already – but don't get too close

Pelicans are bringing their giant beaks and 9-foot wingspans back to Minnesota.

Pelicans are coming back to Minnesota already – but don't get too close

Pelicans are bringing their giant beaks and 9-foot wingspans back to Minnesota.