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Mind Your Wake

If your summer fun involves motorboats or personal watercraft, consider the effect your wake has on the shoreline, on wildlife, and on other people enjoying the same waters.

The environmental effects of wakes can include shoreline erosion, impaired water quality from sediments, and loss of shore-line vegetation.

Big wakes can also damage the nests of shore-nesting birds including loons and can be dangerous to smaller watercraft like canoes, kayaks, and stand-up paddleboards.

Here are some ways to keep your wake in check:

  • Read the signs. Observe speed limits and no-wake zones.

  • Stay away from shore. Personal watercraft are required by law to stay at least 150 feet away from shore. The DNR recommends that motorboats stay at least 200 feet from shore or other structures to minimize wake effects.

  • Spread it around. If you’re in a fast-moving wake boat, water skiing boat, or personal watercraft, minimize repetitive passes in one area by moving on to another.

  • Low and slow. Travel more slowly in shallow waters. Ease up on the throttle near anglers, swimmers, or paddlers in small craft.

This article originally appeared in the May-June 2023 issue of Minnesota Conservation Volunteer magazine and is reprinted with permission.


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