Put Your Boat In The Spotlight

When we head out for our boating activities many of us have fun and sun on our mind. It is important however to always have safe boating experiences, so though this may be the last thing that comes to mind when you’re packing your cooler, fishing poles and sunscreen but we want to ensure you have a few safeguards in your back pocket. We have included the low down on a new law coming May 2017 that ensures another safe step for our Minnesota boaters. And to make sure you are not stuck on the lake waving down another boater we have included information that can save you from being stuck on your own boat island in the middle of the lake.

Startribune.com gives us the need to know information on Sophia’s Law. The law mandates that any motorboat with an “enclosed accommodation area” — which includes sleeping areas, galleys with sinks, and toilet compartments — must have a hard-wired, marine-certified carbon monoxide detector by next May 1, 2017. Those boaters also must post three warning stickers about carbon monoxide poisoning. Other motorboats that have “an enclosed occupancy space” — smaller areas into which a person might enter — won’t be required to have detectors but will still have to have the stickers.

7-year-old Sophia Baechler, died October 2015 on Lake Minnetonka when carbon monoxide leaked from a hole in the boat’s exhaust pipe. While some new boats already come with the detectors, owners of older boats will have to retrofit them. Portable or home carbon monoxide detectors won’t meet the rule.

Minnesota, ranks No. 1 in the nation for most boats per capita, and has more than 540,000 motorboats, according to dnr.state.mn.us. The DNR estimates that this new law will affect about 45,000 boats, and will mail the stickers and distribute them at licensing centers before they’re required. Boaters who don’t follow the rules will get a warning, then a citation. The law requires that all boating safety courses include the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning, which DNR classes already do.

Boating can be all fun and games if done safely by taking simple precautions such as the carbon monoxide detector in the law above. This also requires maintenance which can prevent the unforeseen from happening. Boatsafe.com says just a little TLC and preventive maintenance could prevent bobbing around like a cork and getting pounded by waves.

If you are not a mechanic, get a reliable one and start every season with a professional tune-up. You should have the mechanic test the spark, run a compression test, pressure test the lower unit, check the seals and water pump, test the warning alarms and, in general, go over the motor in such a manner as to eliminate most causes of breakdown. After you have had your annual check-up there are many things that you can do to help assure that you make it through the season without being towed home.

After every outing, flush out the engine. To flush the engine you will need a set of "rabbit ears" (two flexible rubber seals connected with a metal clamp). Simply slip this apparatus onto the lower unit where the water is picked up and attach a garden hose. Start up the engine and let the water pump do the rest. (Be sure to stay clear of the prop and make sure no one tries to shift into gear)

What If You Were In A Boating Accident

It may seem being from Minnesota boating just comes naturally for us. Maybe you had a family vacations on the water, a friend turned you on to on the lake fun, maybe your dad really loved to fish; whatever the reason is you first got on the water I’m sure not many of us really knows what to do if you should get in an accident on the water.

If you are involved in an accident where police will need to be called a Minnesota Recreational Vehicle Accident Report will be filled out by an officer. That report can be found on dnr.state.mn.us for reference.

It is important to know when one of these reports should be filed. Boatsafe.com covers these instances for us; boating-ed.com confirms these to be true to the State of Minnesota.


  1. Life is lost due to the accident.
  2. Someone is injured and requires medical treatment beyond first aid.
  3. There is a complete loss of the vessel or damage to the vessel and property exceeding $2000.
  4. Any person on board a vessel disappears (under circumstances indicating death or injury).

Boating Accident Reports are required to be filed within:

  • 48 hours of the occurrence or if a person dies within one day (24 hours)
  • 48 hours if a person is injured and medical treatment beyond first aid is required.
  • 10 days if there is only damage to the vessel and/or property.

Feel safer on the water with an option to take a boating education class offered by boat-ed.com. This course is not a boating license class as a license to drive boat is not required in the state of Minnesota, but a piece of mind. This course is required if you are 12 to 17 years old, are unsupervised, and will be operating a boat over 25 hp in Minnesota. You also need education if you are 14 to 17 years old, are unsupervised, and will be operating a PWC. You must be at least 12 years old to take this online course. You do not have to be a resident of Minnesota to take this online course. These guidelines were taken from boat-ed.com.

How To Cool Things Down When It Gets Hot

Owning a boat is cool.  On those full sun, full throttle days of July, however, peeling back your old cloth boat cover feels less “oasis” and more “oven” as your boat’s interior cooks underneath.  As reputations go, maybe not the “Hot!” you were going for.

Sunlight is a welcomed part of summer, especially in Minnesota Lake Country where we spend a good part of our year waiting for its return.   A sunny day on the water is meant to savor, and the reason most of us have a boat in the first place. 

We understand the benefits of sunscreen to protect our skin from the damaging rays of the sun, and we slather it on our kids and offer tubes of it to our guests.  We wear ball caps and floppy hats while on the water.  Boat covers function in a similar way, providing a barrier from prolonged exposure to sunlight.  But a simple fabric cover is imperfect:  fine to keep rain, leaves, critters, and dust at bay, but light waves still get through.

For a long time, marine manufacturers relied on simple, light-colored fabrics to reflect much of the sunlight and keep boats comfortably cooler.  White and generic was alright, but consumer demand has led to marine fabric innovations.  New fabric treatments offer color variation, long wear and good looks, and superior stain and fade resistance.

Aqualon Edge, developed by TriVantage, is new to the marine fabric market, and is an improvement to an earlier Aqualon iteration.  Aqualon Edge has an engineered fabric coating that dissipates light waves and subsequent heat build-up more completely.  Even with prolonged exposure to a hot summer sun, your boat stays cooler.  The proprietary hybrid coating results in greater UV reflective capability:  less UV light penetrates the fabric, less kinetic energy is held as heat.  You cover your boat, you protect what matters, and you get a cooler start to your day on the waves. 

“The earlier version of Aqualon was pretty good,” says Matt Franta, CEO of Canvas Craft, a Minnesota company that builds and custom fits specialty after-market covers and Bimini tops on a variety of boats.  “But this new version, Aqualon Edge, has been proven to reduce temperatures in your boat by 30%.  And it comes with a nifty 7-year warranty.  That’s a huge advantage in the market, and our customers are loving it.” 

Customers love the range of 20 crisp, contemporary colors, too.  Aqualon Edge offers shades from an electric “True Teal” to a cheery “Apple Red”; a classic “Charcoal Grey” to a sexy “Cabernet.”  And basic browns are updated in the Aqualon Edge pallet to include “Toast” and “Mountain Taupe.”  That’s a far cry from “white and alright.” 

Science, technology, and color choices help your boat stand out.  Cool.