ST. CLOUD -- If warmer weather means canoeing and kayaking, local officials have tips to keep you safe.

Officials from the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office report an increase in water-related incidents every spring, as water levels are high and water temperatures are low.

Officials offer the following tips for safe early springs on the water:

  • Life jackets are required to be worn by everyone under ten. A wearable life jacket is required for each person on a boat, canoe, and kayak.
  • All watercraft over ten feet long must be registered.
  • A white light or lantern must be carried on watercraft. The light should be strong enough to be seen two miles away.
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If you find yourself overboard, officials suggest following the U.S. Coast Guard’s 1:10:1 principal:

  1. Try to float with the current and get your breathing under control for one minute.
  2. Take the next ten minutes of movement to assess the situation, signaling for help and planning your next step.
  3. Once you’re out of the water, spend the next hour focused on gaining your body heat.

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