By Kate Raddatz

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Fourth of July is the busiest day out on metro area lakes, and it makes for a hectic weekend for water patrols.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office have extra patrols out on Lake Minnetonka this weekend.

Before many festivities had even began Saturday, DNR Conservation Officer Brent Grewe had already pulled over several boaters and issued two citations.

“There are so many more people out here. This lake is always very busy,” Grewe said. “Just makes it more busy with that kind of heat.”

Authorities will not only pull boaters over for reckless behaviors like driving too close to another boat or not observing no wake zones, they’ll also do random checks for proper equipment. It’s law in Minnesota that there have to be enough life jackets for everyone onboard, and children under 10 are required to wear one.

If you plan to have a few drinks while you’re on the boat, you want to make sure you have a sober boater, too. Of the 14 boat and water related deaths in Minnesota last year, six of them were alcohol related.

But you don’t have to be intoxicated to violate the laws of the lake.

“Speed is a huge thing, with all these boats and personal water crafts on the lake,” Grewe said. “Keep your speed down — the water is very rough.”

Click here for more information on water safety from the DNR, including a full list of equipment every boat is required to have on board.


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