Before launching into open water, boaters are reminded to inspect their boats and boating equipment and review regulations, which can be found in the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' 2015 Minnesota Boating Guide.


“With lakes and streams opening up across the state, boaters are anxious to get on the water and start enjoying the boating season. The best time to make sure boats, equipment and safety items are in legal and proper working order is before your first launch of the season. No one wants to break down, get a ticket or have a safety emergency after waiting all winter to get back on the water.”

-Debbie Munson Badini, Minnesota DNR

In addition to making sure boats are equipped with all required safety items, the Minnesota DNR reminds boaters that it’s important to take extra precautions during the cold water season when more than 30 percent of Minnesota’s boating fatalities take place.

While children younger than 10 must wear life jackets while aboard watercraft when underway (i.e., not tied to a dock or anchored for swimming), boat and water safety officials strongly recommend that all boaters wear life jackets anytime they are on cold water, no matter their age.

photo courtesy of the Minnesota DNR

“Wearing a life jacket is an imperative part of staying safe on the water during the spring months when the water is extremely cold. In the event of an unexpected fall or capsizing, having a life jacket on can make all the difference. Adult boaters resistant to wearing a typical life jacket are encouraged to try inflatable styles, designed to make preventive use more convenient and comfortable.”


Before the first launch, the Minnesota DNR recommends that boaters should verify their motorboats are equipped with the following:

  • U.S. Coast Guard-approved wearable life jackets for each person on board.
  • A Type IV throwable flotation device on boats 16 feet or longer.
  • A horn or a whistle.
  • Type B, U.S. Coast Guard-approved fire extinguisher.
  • Navigation lights in working order.
  • Valid boat registration, with numbers visible.

Boat owners can register their watercraft in person at any deputy registrar of motor vehicles or at the DNR License Center in St. Paul. Registrations are good for three calendar years. Renewals can be done in person, or online at

To read more boating safety tips or to find information on watercraft operator permit requirements, visit