Low water levels affecting boaters in Minnesota

The DNR says the below-average rainfall that most of South Minnesota has been experiencing, is the reason for the declining water levels that are affecting boat launches and retrievals.               

When the water level is low, less of the boat ramp is underwater, which reduces the length of the ramp available for a successful launch. Because of this, there is a greater chance of backing a trailer past the end of the ramp. 

Another dangerous aspect of the low water is the possibility of "prop-wash holes". Power loading, the act of using a motor to load the boat on a trailer, is the reason for these holes that occur in low water levels. The holes are created in the sand and gravel at the end of boat ramp. 

Nancy Stewart, a DNR water recreation consultant said in a release, "It’s difficult to get a trailer unstuck from a prop-wash hole. Also, in the area past the hole, there is often a mound of sand or rock deposited by power loading. Boats can run aground on this material and not be able to get to deep water."

To make sure you are successfully able to launch a boat in low water conditions, the DNR has a list of recommendations; make sure to check the boat ramp, especially the firmness of the gravel and the water depth, use a smaller watercraft, and watch for obstructions in the water near the boat launch.