With summer comes lakes filled with boats and personal watercraft.  The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources wants to reminder everyone to "Own Your Wake".

Minnesota law states that the damage your wake causes is treated the same as damage caused by an actual collision.  It's important to remember that personal watercraft must stay at least 150 feet from shore. While there is no required distance for boats, it is recommended that boaters stay at least 200 feet from shore or other structures.

According the the DNR, large wakes produced by watercraft can result in a variety of negative environmental consequences, with greater impacts when water levels are high and shorelines are saturated.  Negative impacts include:

  • Shoreline erosion.
  • Impaired water quality resulting from increased sediment in the water.
  • Loss of shoreline vegetation, which helps stabilize the shore and provides important habitat for fish and wildlife.
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It is crucial that everyone on the water is aware of their environment and what’s going on around them.

Three things to keep in mind to help protect the environment and each other include:

  1. Having a designated lookout to keep an eye out for other boats, objects, and swimmers.
  2. If crossing a wake, crossing at low speeds and keeping a close lookout for skiers and towables.
  3. Following instructions on all signs and respecting barriers. This includes speed limits, no-wake zones, and underwater obstructions.

Boating is a lot more fun when everyone is doing it safely and is aware of what is going on around them.  When I'm out on my boat, there is nothing worse than when someone is out there being reckless.  Luckily, that is rarely the case as most boaters are mindful of others.