Minnesota's Titanic as it is sometimes referred to, describes an event that occurred in July 1890 on the Mississippi. The vessel Sea Wing left Red Wing for a Sunday cruise to Lake City. On the way back, a summer storm hit and 98 people died, mostly women and children. A plaque at Levee Park memorializes the tragic event.
National Safe Boating Week May 20-26 is a good time to keep in mind this event and what we may be able to accomplish to reduce the loss of life in any boating setting.
The North American Safe Boating Campaign promotes boating safety and life jacket safety by encouraging boaters to wear life jackets. It is produced under a grant from the Sports Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund, administered by the U.S. Coast Guard.
Hiawatha Valley Sail and Power Squadron is a subordinate unit of the United States Power Squadrons, a 100-year-old nonprofit dedicated to boating safety. USPS is the largest recreational boating organization with more than 35,000 members. The organization's mission statement focuses three items: self-education, civic service and fraternal boating club. The organization also uses the trademark name Americas Boating Club. Hiawatha Valley is one of four Squadrons in Minnesota serving the southern part of the state.
Hiawatha Valley uses Red Wing as the center of the geographic service area. City of Red Wing supports with publication of safety events as well as funding to assist with public boating classes the squadron teaches. Joe Melson, manager of Ole Miss Marinas, publishes events and provides classroom space for classes. The group also regularly work with the Goodhue County Sheriff's Water Patrol; Sgt. Scott Powers attends boating classes to go over state regulations and explain department's role in boating safety.
Over the years, Hiawatha Valley has been able to donate a defibrillator to the department as well as a marine radio for one of the new patrol boats. The organization also donated $1,000 to the Red Wing Fire Department to assist with outfitting its new fire boat.