MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Go slow or get an expensive citation — that’s the message from the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office Water Patrol.
This is the first time Lake Minnetonka has ever had a minimum wake restriction on the entire lake. Deputies are on the water to educate and enforce the restriction.
Jet skiers are puttering around the lake. Boats are going less than 5 mph.
“We’ve got a number of boats out working,” Hennepin Co. Sheriff Rich Stanek said.
He said deputies and volunteers are educating people on the water.
“We’re just asking people to be courteous,” Stanek said. “Think about it, respect the lake and the lake will respect you.”
He said the water is up 18 inches from this time last year. The high water forced the Lake Minnetonka Conservation District Board of Directors to approve an emergency ordinance to restrict any speed that results in more than a minimum wake.
“You do want to open it up a little bit, but it is what it is,” boater Clay Rice said.
Rice said he doesn’t mind going slow. He makes sure others take care of the lake, too.
“There’s some people that don’t know what’s going on,” Rice said. “It doesn’t take very long for someone to holler at them and tell them to slow down.”
Floating debris remains a hazard and driving with a big wake could cause erosion. Some people have tried to push past water patrol. Boaters get a warning, then a citation.
“If we have to, we will enforce it through a citation,” Stanek said. “That citation is $178, but again we prefer to change people’s behavior through education, hoping that common sense and reason plays into it.”
So far only one person has been written up.
The restriction will stay in place until the lake drops about 8 inches and stays that way for three straight days. It could take a week and a half or longer, depending on how much it rains.