Minnesota DNR Reminds Boaters About The Risks Of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources recently posted a reminder on social media about Sofia's Law. It's a law that requires carbon monoxide detectors on certain boats.
The law was named after seven-year-old Sophia Baechler, who tragically died from carbon monoxide poisoning while boating on Lake Minnetonka with her family. The law was put into place on May 1, 2018, and has several requirements for certain passenger boats.
Motorboats regardless of the fuel type, with an enclosed accommodation compartment, must be equipped with a functioning marine CO detector system installed according to the manufacturer's instructions. In addition, all gasoline-powered motorboats with any enclosed compartment must display three CO poisoning warning stickers.
You can get the warning stickers from any MN deputy registrar location. Many marinas, boat dealers, and repair shops also have them free at no cost.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources sent stickers to all boats 19 feet in length or longer when the law took effect. However, regardless of boat length, if you have an enclosed passenger compartment the law still applies to you.
If your boat does not have an enclosed space, the DNR still suggests that you place a CO warning sticker at the steering station and the stern. If you operate the boat with a canvas enclosure you are encouraged to install a CO detector.
It is also important to remember that CO detectors have an average lifespan of just 5 years before they are no longer effective. The detector may have an expiration date, or may have an alert system notifying when it is no longer working correctly.