The unofficial end of summer is this weekend for most Minnesotans, and authorities are urging those who plan to be out on the water to boat safe and sober. Authorities with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources are expecting a busy weekend on lakes with Labor Day on Monday and our recent hot temperatures.
When it comes to boats and danger, you may think of drowning or crashing. But there’s another danger, a silent one.
Three of Minneapolis’ locks on the Mississippi River have been reopened to recreational boating traffic Friday morning, two days after reopening to commercial vessels. According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, the Upper and Lower St. Anthony locks in downtown Minneapolis and Dam 1 near Minnehaha Park were originally closed to recreation traffic on June 24 when river flows exceeded 30,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) – over twice the speed of the
This holiday weekend, lakes and rivers around the state will be packed with boaters who are finally getting the chance to enjoy summer. But, a day off for most Minnesotans means a busy day for the Department of Natural Resources patrolling the water for those who are drinking and boating.
A frustrating Fourth of July is in store for some Twin Cities families. Several lakes and rivers have dangerously high water levels in addition to storm debris floating on or just below the surface. The water is moving so fast that the Mississippi River in downtown Minneapolis and near Minnehaha Park has been off limits to all boaters for the last ten days. The locks for commercial barges just reopened Wednesday, but recreational boating is still prohibited.
With the nice weather on tap for this weekend, many Minnesotans will be headed to the lakes. And to help keep everyone safe on the water, the DNR is ramping up patrols to crack down on drunken boaters. Friday marks the start of “Operation Dry Water” across the state. Boaters caught operating under the influence will have their boats impounded and could even be banned from boating.
One look at the wind swept Medicine Lake and you can see what Joe Harty is talking about. “This is a rare occurrence. The last time it happened I think was five years ago,” he said.
The recent bouts of rainy weather mean people can’t travel up and down the Mississippi River as far as they may like to. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers closed three of the Minneapolis locks to recreational traffic over the weekend. It could be a week before the river is low enough to be safe. Commercial traffic can still get through.
The past few days have been deadly on Minnesota waters. A 3-year-old boy drowned in a lake in Nisswa on Monday, and over 5-year-old girl and a woman died in a boating accident on Lac qui Parle, as the two were without life jackets.
Kim Elverum has been warning Minnesotans about water safety issues for more than four decades. Under Elverum’s watch, boating fatalities have fallen from 56 in 1975 to 15 last year. Elverum is the longest-serving state boating administrator in the nation.
The Memorial Day weekend marks the start of the boating season for many Minnesotans. So the Department of Natural Resources is reminding boaters and anglers to be extra vigilant to help stop the spread of aquatic invasive species.
Brooke Welch is out on Lake Minnetonka, enjoying a boat ride that’s been months in the making. “It’s been a long winter, really cold so we are happy to be out on the water,” Welch said. Unfortunately for most boaters enjoying the weekend on water, gas prices in Minnesota are third highest in the nation – right behind Alaska and Hawaii.
As the ice comes off more Minnesota lakes, safety officials are highlighting Saturday’s start to National Safe Boating Week. The St. Paul District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says the best thing a person can do to stay safe on the water is to wear a life vest or personal flotation device.
On Saturday, Minnesotans will launch their boats in search of open water for the annual fishing opener.
The dock tells the story of White Bear Lake, ending way before the water. Or the nearby boat lift, left high and dry.