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Wakes, waves, and propeller wash: Research on the impacts of recreational boating on inland lakes

Minnesota Lakes and Rivers (MLR) would like CLA to be aware of a unique opportunity to learn more about the impact wakesurfing can have on our lakes.


Boating season is upon us. Minnesotans, as they have for generations, will enjoy sun and water and fun. But there the similarity ends. Many of the new boats on the water bear no resemblance to your grandfathers fishing boat.

The boats now are larger and far more powerful. Where once boats were powered with 25 HP or maybe 50 HP motors and 40 knots was considered fast, there are boats on the market now that go over 70 mph or have engines generating 400 hp or more. And there are more of them.

It is time to try to see what the impacts of our boats, wakes, prop thrust and boating habits are on lake ecology and wildlife. Minnesota Lakes and Rivers has been working the last few years to support funding for world class researches to begin exploring these issues.

We wanted to provide an opportunity for you to learn more.

May 31, 2023. 6:30pm-8:00pm


Jeff Marr MS PE, Associate Director of Engineering and Facilities, St. Anthony Falls Laboratory, University of Minnesota and Andy Riesgraf MS, Research Scientist

This presentation by Jeff Marr will summarize completed comparative research on the size, energy, and power of boat-generated wake waves produced by a number of recreational boats under various modes of operation and data-informed guidance on recommend operational distances for enhanced wake watercraft.

The presentation will also share an update of ongoing research focusing on characterizing the propeller wash created by recreational boats and potential implications of propeller wash on lake health.

Finally, Jeff Marr will present our research plans for an upcoming research study, pending funding by the State of Minnesota, that will explore environmental impacts of boat-generated wave, propeller wash and wind driven waves.

The presentation will allow time for questions and discussion.

We hope to see you there and enjoy the spring.

Jeff Forester, MLR


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