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Wisconsin DNR Urges Boater Safety This Memorial Day Weekend


After six boating fatalities in the state already this year, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is urging boaters to stay safe this Memorial Day weekend.

Wisconsin is ranked number two in the country for the number of registered boats, outranking many coastal states for its three-month boating season.

Many of those boats will take to the lakes this weekend.

Lt. Darren Kuhn, the DNR Boating Law Administrator, said there are some simple steps boaters can take to make sure everyone on board stays safe.

First, wear a life jacket.

“Eighty percent of all boating related fatalities are drownings,” Kuhn said. “A majority of those are a direct result of not having a life jacket.”

Kuhn said life jackets should be snug and fastened, not just stored on the boat.

He also cautioned against getting drunk while driving a boat.

Additionally, he encouraged boaters to keep an eye on the weather.

“Be mindful of your surroundings,” he said. “Things can change in a matter of seconds and if you’re not prepared, tragedy can happen.”

During the pandemic, many people bought a boat for the first time.

Kuhn encouraged those people to take a boat safety class, which the DNR offers online.

Erin Gottsacker worked at WXPR as a Morning Edition host and reporter from December 2020 to January 2023. During her time at the station, Erin reported on the issues that matter most in the Northwoods.
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