OUR OPINION: BOAT SAFETY | BrainerdDispatch.com | Brainerd, Minnesota

OUR OPINION: BOAT SAFETY

A happy ending to one boater’s story

Posted: June 7, 2011 - 6:37pm

A boater is reported missing. Weather conditions are rough. A family waits anxiously.

Sheriff’s deputies and emergency personnel in our lakes area had seen this scenario play out all too often so when the call came in that 68-year-old Daniel Larson of Merrifield had not returned from a fishing outing it was easy to expect the worse.

Instead, what actually occurred was the best possible outcome from a dangerous incident. Larson’s 14-foot fishing boat capsized about 9 p.m. Memorial Day and to the relief of everyone involved he was found on shore the next morning after spending about nine hours in the chilly waters of Pelican Lake.

Larson was resting in a Brainerd hospital Wednesday and as summer  unofficially begins it’s worthwhile to reflect on how he survived his harrowing boat trip.

In short, Larson did everything right. First, he wore  his life jacket. That’s probably is the single most important factor in his survival. Second, he stayed by his boat. A boat not only can provide assistance in staying afloat, but also is a visible marker for rescuers.

We would recommend the story of Larson’s ordeal to any boat passenger who thinks he doesn’t need to bring along a life jacket on a short boat ride. A lot of people may think they’re pretty good swimmers, but can they stay afloat for nine hours in cold water?

A little bit of common sense by boaters will go a long way toward making this an enjoyable, safe summer.