The Lake Minnetonka Conservation District (LMCD) has received a significant number of public comments about wakes created by watercraft such as wake surf boats and large cruisers. Some feel these large wakes are creating safety hazards, environmental concerns, nuisances/noise, damaging property, and interfering with other uses of the lake. The LMCD has also received a significant number of public comments from others who feel that boats such as surf boats offer a great outdoor recreational outlet and they have the same right to use the lake as any other watercraft owner.
Lake Minnetonka is one of the busiest lakes in the state and is also a regional and national recreation destination. The LMCD has a long history of balancing competing lake uses with the concept of reasonable use to protect the lake and all those who enjoy it. The LMCD Board is committed to listening to all the information presented regarding this issue. Due to the complexity of the wake topic and timing of available information, the listening process will likely occur over several months. This will allow sufficient review of all aspects of the topic. The process will likely include gathering data, continuing or expanding public education, and reviewing research. During this process, we will be contacting member cities, the boating industry, residents, recreationalists, and other stakeholders to find productive ways to determine further next steps, if any.
Sign up for email notifications regarding this topic and other Lake Minnetonka activities by emailing email@example.com or calling the LMCD office at (952) 745-0789.
Research & Legislation
UMN Research Regarding Boat Generated Wakes. The U of M St. Anthony Falls Laboratory is conducting research about boat wake and propeller wash produced by recreational watercraft. Phase I started Fall of 2020 with field work. As of May 25, 2021, researchers advised the results will not be available for several months in order to ensure a diligent review of the data and document and quality control. In the meantime, you may visit the project website and sign up for updates at https://sites.google.com/umn.edu/healthywatersinitiative/welcome.
The process consists of extensive data analysis, a draft report, peer review, and publishing. A link to the public report will be provided when available. For an overview of the researched planned Fall 2020, view the presentation to the LMCD Board on 08/26/2020.
State Legislation. A bill was proposed in the previous 2020 legislative session regarding wake boats. If any bill is introduced at the 2021 Minnesota State Legislature about wake type boats, it will be posted here. The LMCD is also monitoring legislation regarding wakes introduced in other states.
- 2021 Legislation
- HF 1606 introduced 02/25/2021 Bill Information Bill text as introduced
- View LMCD Position Statement. LMCD opposes HF 1606 and SF 1639 as currently drafted because this legislation 1) eliminates local control and 2) is premature in light of ongoing research regarding the impact of boat generated wakes.
MN DNR. Wake issues have state-wide impact. The LMCD is monitoring activities by the MN DNR to address this issue.
LMCD Code. LMCD Code regulates all watercraft on Lake Minnetonka. The full LMCD Code can be found HERE. The Summer Rules brochure provides a summary of the regulations. View Brochure. LMCD Code prohibits the operation of any watercraft:
- at a speed which results in more than a minimum wake within 150 feet of swimmers, other boats, or docks (8-2.03 and 9-1.01);
- in a careless manner such that its wash or wake will endanger or unnecessarily interfere with any other person or property (8-2.01); or
- in a manner that exceeds noise limits or otherwise causes a public nuisance. (8-1.13 and 8-2.01).
LMCD Code also specifically regulates personal watercraft:
- precludes operation of a personal watercraft between one hour before sunset and 9:30 a.m. the following day (8-3.05);
- restricts operation of a personal watercraft at a speed which results in more than a minimum wake within 300 feet of the shoreline (8-3.07); and
- precludes operation of a personal watercraft in a single area for more than 30 consecutive minutes and the operator is subject to citation if such operation is liable to be a nuisance to residents (8-3.15).
The LMCD encourages and supports safety and lake use education for all watercraft operators.
Watercraft Operator’s Permit. Through its Save the Lake Fund, the LMCD partners with the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office Water Patrol, MN DNR, Mound Fire Department, and AL & Almas to offer a Boater Safety Education Program which qualifies participants for a MN DNR Watercraft Operator’s Permit (currently required for boat operators 12-17 years old, but recommended for all boaters). (Classes currently suspended due to COVID-19)
Wake Surfing Education – The LMCD supports education programs developed by the NMMA, professional wake surfers and others to promote safe, responsible, and fun wake surfing operations. These resources are external sites and provided as a courtesy. The LMCD does not maintain these sites or content.
- The Wave Video. https://youtu.be/daa0U56zvwc
- Wake Responsibly. http://wakeresponsibly.com
- Captains Etiquette video. https://vimeo.com/162088944
- Wake Zone Drivers Etiquette video: https://vimeo.com/207361109
- Citizens for Sharing Lake Minnetonka: sharelakeminnetonka.com
Own Your Wake. Boaters are responsible for the wakes they create. Learn about the impact of wakes and ways to protect the environment and people. Learn more
Wake Sports AIS Prevention. Watch this short video to learn how wake sports users, like wake boarders, wake boaters and wake surfers can prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS). Created by Wildlife Forever in partnership with the Boat US Foundation. Learn more at CleanDrainDry.org. Watch the Clean Drain Dry Video.