As the Fourth of July holiday approaches, we want to remind our readers near and far to take every precaution to ensure safety on the waters this week and for the rest of the summer as well.
In Minnesota, there have already been a number of boating-related incidents this summer where people have lost their lives, and the lakes are sure to be filled from shore to shore with recreation boaters on the Fourth of July holiday Wednesday.
When it's as hot as it's been, there's nothing better than getting out on the lake, whether it's to fish, go tubing or waterskiing, or simply for a ride around the lake. But each time we take the boat out, the risk is there for something potentially devastating to happen.
Since 2005, children under 10 are required by law to wear a life jacket, but that doesn't mean everyone on the boat shouldn't have one on as well. History will tell us that sometimes it's not enough just to have a life jacket with you or a personal floatation device tucked under the seat of a boat.
Why not take as much of the life-threatening risk as you can out of the equation and take the time to buckle a life jacket on every time you go out on the lake?
We've heard too many stories this summer about death on the water, and fortunately, we haven't had any incidents in southwest Minnesota. But that doesn't mean it can't happen here.
While we're on the subject of safety, we also remind drivers to take it easy on the highways this week. The Fourth of July has a sad history of traffic deaths on the roads - in the last three years, Independence Day racked up 15 traffic deaths, topping May 22 (13), May 23 (11) and July 10 (11) for the deadliest 24-hour period, the Department of Public Safety said. And, the DPS said, from 2009-2011 there have been more than 1,500 DWI arrests on Independence Day.
Have fun on the Fourth, but be safe. Don't, as they say, end up as a statistic.