With greater risks, Coast Guard stresses paddle boating safety this summer

By KBJR News 1

May 18, 2014 Updated May 18, 2014 at 11:11 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - Eight of every 10 boaters who drowned in 2013 were using boats less than 21 feet in length.

It's that sobering statistic, says the U.S. Coast Guard, that has them calling attention to paddle craft safety on the Great Lakes this summer.

Paddle sports like kayaking continue to be the fastest growing segment of recreational boating.

However, officials say paddlers are more exposed to the elements than others on the water.

Safety tips include following the weather forecast, and making a "float plan."

Paddling with a partner, and taking a paddle safety course is also encouraged. Make sure you can contact help if needed.

And, of course, always wear a life jacket.

Billy Wagness