Ice is clearing off Northland waterways, ushering in spring cold water season.  If you plan on being on the water, make sure you're wearing a life jacket, it could be a matter of life and death.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources says that more than 30 percent of boating fatalities occur on cold water, with the victims being disproportionately male.  It's no coincidence that men are least likely to wear life jackets.

While wearing a life jacket, not just having it in the boat, is always best, wearing it during cold water season is crucial.

When a person falls into cold water, the temperature shock will almost instantly cause the gasp reflex, which leads to swallowing water, hyperventilation and panic.  This can incapacitate even strong swimmers in less than one minute.  People not wearing life jackets can drown in a matter of minutes.

Don't let rising air temperatures fool you, water temps remain dangerously cold through spring.

Click on the link below to get more helpful information and safety tips through the DNR.