LAKE MINNETONKA, Minn. (WCCO) — One of Minnesota’s most popular lakes is officially open for business. Boaters can now head out on Lake Minnetonka.
The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office along with the Fresh Water Society declared ice out around noon.
The thin patches ice left on Lake Minnetonka were melting quickly Saturday, as officials assessed if the waters were safe for boaters.
“As long as we can navigate through each of the bays around the ice floes from shore to shore we’re good,” Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek said.
About a quarter past noon, the official announcement came.
“Today it’s going to be ice out on Lake Minnetonka, which is historic,” Stanek said.
We tied the latest ice out back in 1857.
This year, there is a new law in place for the 2018 boating season.
“It usually took a while to push off from the dock. It was about 4:15 when we actually left,” Courtney Baechler said to legislators in 2016.
In 2015, 7-year-old Sophia Baechler died from carbon monoxide poisoning while on a family boat ride on Lake Minnetonka.
A year later, her mother spoke to law makers urging them to make a change.
“A $20 carbon monoxide detector my beautiful girl would be here,” Courtney Baechler said.
Sophia’s Law went into effect on May 1. It requires motorboats with enclosed compartments to have carbon monoxide detectors in the cabin and sleeping areas.
The rule only applies to boats with enclosed compartments.
The DNR officers and sheriff’s deputies will be handing out CO poisoning warning stickers that should also displayed on the stern, helm and cabin.
“We’re not in the business of penalizing we want to help educate,” Stanek said.
If your carbon monoxide detector was manufactured before 2012 you’re going to have to have it replaced before you take your boat out on the water. Minnesota is actually the first state that will require CO detectors on motorboats.