Officials: No wakes on high water lakes!

Published online: May 09, 2011 News Bill Keller - FOX 9 News
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MINNETONKA, Minn. - Boat owners around Lake Minnetonka will have to hang up the water skis for a few more weeks now that strict speed limits have been put in place on some popular lakes because water levels are too high.

Right now, the lake is up a foot since the ice melted, putting some permanent docks under water. So, for the first time since 1994, boat traffic is being restricted.

"Everyone is so geared up to go boating this year after the way the winter has been -- and this wet, cold spring," said Tom Jacob, at Excel Boat Club. "Everyone is going to be all charged up and ready to go."

Except they won't be legally able to go any faster than 5 mph on much of lake Minnetonka now that the Water Patrol is imposing a no-wake zone within 600 feet of shore.

"It's going to make it more difficult for those that want to water ski, tube -- a variety of activities," said Greg Nybeck, with the Lake Minnetonka Conservation District.

Essentially, recreational boating is off-limits on 17 bays -- including St. Albans Bay, where Excel Boat Club is located. At the club, normal water levels would put pontoon decks even with the dock.

Jacob said he had planned to open Excel Boat Club on Saturday, but now has to delay the start of their boating season.

Hennepin County Sheriff's Office Water Patrol officials said they will be closely monitoring the lake and will work to educate boaters about the restrictions, but repeat offenders may face tickets and fines. The ticket would be a misdemeanor, which is more serious than a moving violation in a car.

The restriction was put in place over concerns of erosion at lakefront property.

Read more: Officials: No Wakes on High Water Lakes!

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