Minnesota Boating Safety Law Delayed

Sophia's Law Will Require Carbon Monoxide Detectors on Certain Boats

DULUTH, Minn. – A new boating safety law was expected to be in effect right now in Minnesota, but there’s been a hold up.

Sophia’s Law was passed last year by the Minnesota legislature. The law is named after a seven-year-old girl who died in 2015 from carbon monoxide poisoning while napping on her family’s boat on Lake Minnetonka, near the Twin Cities.

The law requires all boats with sleeping quarters, galley kitchen areas, and toilet compartments to have carbon monoxide detectors on board.

It was supposed to go into effect this year but, according to the Minnesota DNR, it has now been pushed back and will not be enforced until early next spring.

The law was delayed in part because no marine-quality carbon monoxide detectors were on the market until very recently.

Some in the boating community believe having detectors on board is important, but they don’t think a specific kind should be required.

“Apparently one of the things they wanted hard wired into the boat, which is kind of difficult when you have a thirty-two volt system and they only sell twelve volt carbon monoxide detectors,” says Joel Johnson, owner of Lakehead Boat Basin on Park Point in Duluth. “Individuals can protect their own self. Again, it’s one of the government stepping in and trying to dictate how we live and so forth.”

Both hardwired and battery operated carbon monoxide detectors are compliant with Sophia’s law, according to the Minnesota DNR.

Sophia’s Law will go into effect on May 1, 2018. Boaters who violate the law can be ticketed with a misdemeanor.

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