If your idea of a beautiful spring day begins and ends on the water, Minnesota is the right place to be. Surrounded by the best lakes and rivers in this great nation, our opportunities for spending time on the water are more than abundant. Ask anyone who lives here and they’ll readily share their favorite spot for communing with nature.


Whether you prefer lakes or rivers, it’s important to practice safe boating practices while you’re out on the water. Both offer their share of hazards, but those found on a river can be very different from those of a lake. Follow these tips from our boat upholstery pros at Canvasworks in Cokato to stay safe while you’re on the river this summer.

1.   Know About Closures.

Check on the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources river level page before you head out to learn about closures due to high water and hazards.

2.   Stay Sober.

You wouldn’t drink and drive, and rivers can be just as dangerous as highways. Drunk boating is responsible for more fatalities on the water than any other cause of death, so don’t do it.

3.   Check the Weather Report.

Don’t get caught in dangerous weather. Check the weather report for the day, along your entire route before heading out for the day.

4.   Be Careful in Choppy Water.

If you encounter rough water out on a river, things can go south quickly. That’s why it’s important to be extremely careful and go slowly until you hit smooth waters again. Not only should you keep an eye on the water ahead for signs of rapids, make sure you check out a map or talk to people who live in the area about rough water areas on the river.

5.   Wear Life Jackets.

It seems elementary, but you’d be surprised at how many boaters bank on their experience as a substitute for life jacket safety. Check your children to make sure their life jackets are being properly worn as well.

6.   Let Someone Know Where You’ll Be.

Take the simple step of making sure someone knows where you’re going, how long you’ll be gone, and what to do if you don’t arrive safely on time. You should also keep a charged phone and radio on your boat in case of an emergency. Make sure that the phone and radio are kept in a waterproof case that will float, just in case it ends up in the water.

7.   Carry the Right Equipment.

Before taking off, go over your checklist to make sure you have everything you need to boat safely on the river. Make sure you have life jackets for everyone on the boat, first aid equipment, sunscreen, and plenty of water in case of an emergency. It’s also a good idea to bring an extra phone charger.

8.   Protect Your Passengers From the Sun.

Solar heat can creep up on you, and by the time your passengers start to feel dehydrated or get headaches, you may have a health problem on your hands. Consider adding a layer of protection for everyone on your boat with a custom boat bimini top.

9.   Clear Your Boat of Debris

Minnesota law forbids the transport of invasive plants or animals, even dead ones. This means it’s important to make sure that your boat is cleared of all water and debris before you leave the landing every time you go boating on the river.

Contact Your Cokato Source For a Custom Boat Canopy

If you’re looking forward to spending time on the river this summer, make sure you take the right precautions so everyone has a great time and comes home safely. To help make the most of your time out on the water, our Cokato boat canopy manufacturers can install custom bimini tops.


We also manufacture custom boat seat upholstery and boat covers for pontoons, fishing boats, and more. Check out our gallery to get ideas, then give us a call at 320-559-0165 or contact us to order your custom boat cover today.