Officials urge boaters to prepare for cold water, wake restrictions

May 24, 2019 06:44 PM

After the winter we had, cloudy conditions and cooler than average temperatures won't be enough to keep Minnesotans off the lakes this Memorial Day weekend.

"In Minnesota, we like to be out on the lakes and the water and that's going to happen this weekend, no matter what," said Lt. Shane Magnuson with Hennepin County Sheriff's Office Water Patrol.


Magnuson said, much like boaters are busy preparing for the busy weekend, members of law enforcement are, as well.

"We will be ready to go help if needed, but more than anything we want people to plan their trip," Magnuson said.

Hennepin County is urging boaters to prepare for the weekend by designating a sober boat operator in advance. You should also make sure your boat also has all of the required safety equipment, including properly fitting life jackets for everyone onboard.

Going into the holiday weekend, 2019 has been one of the safest in recent memory in Minnesota when it comes to non-boating drownings and boating deaths.

And this year, there are some special considerations, too. Lake temperatures are running colder than usual at this point in the year and that adds an extra level of danger.

"Your ability to swim even as a good swimmer is going to be compromised very quickly," Magnuson said. "Have rain gear, have warm clothes so you don't see hypothermia, even above water."

Around Lake Minnetonka, there are free life jackets boaters can borrow at three launches.

"Take them, use them for a day and just return them at the end of the day," he said.

More from KSTP:

No-wake restriction issued for all Stearns County area lakes, rivers due to high water levels

Memorial Day Events

Officials say boaters also need to watch for more wake restrictions than usual because of high water on many lakes. 

"Boat wakes close to shore can cause damage to both docks and shorelines, so that's something boaters need to be aware of," Magnuson said.

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Matt Belanger

Copyright 2019 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company


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