Hennepin County Sheriff updates on drownings, near drownings

Recent hot summer temperatures mean that many more people have been enjoying water-related recreation such as boating and swimming. The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office is urging all residents to put safety measures into place during water recreation.

With the summer weekends being viewed between Memorial Day and Labor Day, we are halfway through the summer season.

Here is an update on the number in the number of drownings, near drownings and boating while intoxicated arrests in Hennepin County so far this year, as of July 17.

There have been six people who have drowned in Hennepin County. Five of the six victims have drowned during the summer months. Three of the victims were children.

There have been 14 people who have nearly drowned in Hennepin County.

There have been 40 Boating While Intoxicated (BWI) arrests in Hennepin County.

Safety reminders for swimming

Watch your kids.

• Parents and caregivers must use maintain visual contact when children are in — or near — the water. In 70 percent of cases where young children drowned, one or both parents were nearby. Being nearby isn’t enough. Parents must focus on kids and avoid distractions such as cell phones or talking with other adults.

• Parents must watch their children even when there are lifeguards on duty. Do not rely on older siblings to watch young children.

• Watch children in pools and hot tubs. In Hennepin County in recent years, most drownings and near-drownings have taken place in swimming pools and hot tubs.


Wear a life jacket.

• Weak swimmers or non-swimmers may wear life jackets while swimming — in lakes, in swimming pools, or any body of water. Adult supervision is still needed.

• Use U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets. Do not rely on water wings or other inflatable devices.


Learn to swim and learn about water safety.

• Teach kids to swim. Adults must know how to swim too.

• Keep safety equipment near pools, such as a shepherd’s hook. If attempting a rescue, do not enter the water. Hand something to the struggling person or pull them to safety with the hook — so that the rescue doesn’t endanger others.

• Use safety precautions with backyard kiddie pools. (One child drowns every five days in portable pools.)

• Learn CPR and learn more about water safety.

Safety reminders for boating

Boaters should slow down and make an extra effort to act in a courteous manner on crowded lakes and rivers.

Designate a sober boat operator prior to a day of boating.

State law requires that children under age 10 must wear a life jacket while the boat is underway. It is highly recommended that all children wear life jackets during boating.

State law requires that life jackets are readily accessible for all people on board the boat. Eighty percent of boating deaths could have been prevented if the victims had been wearing life jackets. (U.S. Coast Guard estimate)

Be aware of the danger of a boat propeller.  People in the water, who are re-entering the boat, have been injured by props.