Citing massive wakes, Chanhassen residents seek restrictions on special boats

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The Minnesota DNR says they are getting a growing number of complaints over the massive wakes special boats are creating on Lake Minnetonka and other lakes.

On Monday, Chanhassen residents took the issue to city hall.

“This is not caused by nature; this is manmade damage,” said resident Donna Burt. “We’ve seen the swimmers get knocked over, we’ve been knocked off the dock and bruised.”

Burt and others living on Lotus Lake blame wake surfing for the damage, saying those boats use a ballast system to weigh the boat down and create a bigger wake.

Joann Syverson is leading Safe Wakes for Small Lakes, a group pushing for a ban on ballast use in boats on small lakes 1,000 acres or less, like Lotus Lake.

“The wake surfing boats are public nuisances, but there are no laws against their use,” said Joann Syverson.

The DNR recently addressed the statewide complaints over large wakes, reminding boaters it is already against the law in Minnesota to operate a watercraft in a way that its wake endangers, harasses or interferes with any person or property. 

Syverson proposed potential wake rule changes to Chanhassen city leaders during an informal meeting Monday in front of a packed crowd.

"My issue is we have some uniniformed users traveling too close," said wake surfer Andy Larson. “I think some etiquette and education would go a long way before we go to making more rules.” 

"We know it's going to take a law to convince the DNR to implement any new guidelines for wake surfing boats," Syverson added.

Chanhassen officials say there could be a possible hearing on the wake concerns at a later date.

For more information on the group's efforts, click here.