Did you know kids as young as 10 can starting driving a boat after they get their boater’s safety license? Both of our kids completed their boater safety course a few years ago on a Christmas break road trip and have been driving our boats ever since, averaging 100+ hours a season. Our lakes are part of Minnesota culture. Anyone who wants to spend time on a lake, whether in a motor boat, sail boat, Personal Water Craft (PWC), kayak or paddle board, should complete a boating safety course. It is dangerous to venture out onto one of Minnesota’s lakes without understanding the fundamentals and rules of boating safety. This summer has been especially dangerous with the reported accidents. When people are new to a sport or hobby like boating, the learning never ends. Several times I have witnessed inexperienced people on boats who were stranded because they didn’t know how to operate them. Multiple times our family has pulled paddle boarders to safety after and paddling down wind and getting into trouble, or a group of kayakers trying to cross the lake on a weekend. 

A few weeks ago, I saw two close calls because kayaks had formed a long single file line as a group and tried to cross open water, blocking all boat traffic. It was both dangerous and inconsiderate. Likewise, boaters have to make good decisions about their speed, when and where to tow a water-skier, surfer, wakeboarder or tuber, like avoiding busy intersections and being considerate on non-motorized watercraft and fisherman. 

If you’re taking to the water, it is recommended that you read the Minnesota Boating Guide put out by the DNR. It’s also recommended everyone spend a few dollars and take the online boater safety course. It is relatively easy to complete in a few hours. You will learn the ins and outs of overtaking another boat, how to pull a water skier and what type of boats need to yield to sail boats. Do your part to make our lakes safe and enjoyable. If you’re an avid boater take time to invest safe boating practices with your friends and family.


Best of the Press

Wow! What a response from our readers with more than 1,000 nominations of your hyper-local favorite establishments for the Best of the Press contest. We now need your help in casting your vote for our Readers Choice Best of the Press. Here’s how you vote: go to presspubs.com/white_bear/bestof  and vote for the place with the best appetizer to the best local park. You will be able to vote once every 24 hours. Voting on the ballot will run through Sept. 10. The ballot will be in the same spot, presspubs.com/white_bear/bestof . When voting closes, we will tally the results and prepare a special section of the Press to announce the winners. All winners will be announced Oct. 21. Now more than ever we need your help in recognizing the hard work of our local businesses - the life blood of our community. Help promote the institutions that make our community great by casting your votes in the Reader’s Choice Best of the Press. 


Carter Johnson is publisher of Press Publications.

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