There’s nothing quite like the beauty of a sunset cruise on one of our fine Minnesota lakes after a long day of fun in the sun.Or the enjoyment of star watching in the moonlight on a dark lake. However, boating after dark can be dangerous, especially if you aren’t prepared. 


At Canvasworks in Cokato, MN, we help Minnesota boat owners maximize their lakeside adventures with high-performance custom boat covers, bimini tops, and boat upholstery. We want all of our customers to enjoy their time out on the lake as safely as possible so they can share their adventures with us after returning home.


Read on for our safe nighttime boating tips and get ready to enjoy your next nighttime boating adventure.Once you’re done,  give us a call to schedule your boat upholstery repair or order your custom marine products.

Staying Safe on the Lake After Dark

Even if you don’t plan to be boating by moonlight, a long day can turn into a dark night before you know it when you’re having fun. But there’s no need to panic if you’re caught out after dark. Follow these tips to make it home safely:

1.    Drive Slowly and Be Careful

Just as you’d slow down when you’re driving in fog on the highway, you need to drive more slowly and be more careful anytime your visibility is compromised on the water. Even if there is a full moon, the water is incredibly dark at night and hides all sorts of hazards. Your moonlit adventure can take a dark turn quickly if you get stranded on the water. Remember that excess alcohol impairs your driving on the water as much as it does on the land. Minnesota state law prohibits operating or being in control of a boat while intoxicated and it is punishable with up to $14,000 in fines and 3-7 years in prison. 

2.    Increase Your Visibility

Make sure all your appropriate lights are on and in good working condition before heading out on a nighttime boating adventure. Installing mood lighting on your boat can make evening boating more enjoyable as well as making your boat more visible to surrounding boats. Having a spotlight is a useful addition to your emergency kit as well.

3.    Keep Your Emergency Kit Stocked

Before you ever set out on the water day or night, be sure to refresh the supplies in your emergency kit and make sure your phone is charged. Having a back-up charger for your phone and a signal booster if you are in an area with poor service is always a good idea as well. Make sure they are kept, along with your phone, in a waterproof bag or container.

4.    Use Your Ears

When your eyes don’t reveal everything, it’s more important than ever to rely on your other senses, especially your ears. Keep your music down and limit talking so you can listen for the sound of approaching boats, bells, and horns.

5.    Pay Attention to Your Instruments

Your instruments  can be a valuable back-up when your eyes and ears fail you. Be sure to check your navigational instruments regularly to make sure they are working correctly so you know they can be trusted when you need them.

6.    Dock Carefully

When it’s dark out your depth perception can be off, especially on the water. Approach the dock or trailer with caution and designate one passenger to be an extra set of eyes as you get closer to the dock. Remind your passengers to step off the boat slowly once you’ve completely stopped at the dock, and be sure to double check that everything is safely tied down. Don’t forget to follow all normal procedures to prevent the spread of invasive species after a day of boating. You can find Minnesota specific rules and regulations here.

Call for Minnesota Bimini Tops and More

Now that you know how to boat safely day or night, it’s time to plan your next adventure! Before heading out, be sure your boat is ready for summer fun with custom boat upholstery, bimini tops, and boat covers. Check out our online gallery and then call us at 320-559-0165 or contact us online to get started on your custom boat covers and more!