Friday, August 16, 2019

Life Jackets & Minnesota Law

We've had some questions about life jacket requirements, especially for children.  General advice from those of us who have been coming here "forever" is to wear a life jacketThis means even (and especially) on paddle boards, paddle boats, and kayaks etc.  If you are out by yourself a good distance from shore, a life jacket makes it easier to recover from an accident.  There are lots of big boats out there (making big waves) and they may not see smaller craft.  You may be a strong swimmer, but helping someone in a panic can sap your energy and strength very quickly.  Life jackets just make everything safer.  As my grandmother used to say, "a life jacket on a kid also serves as a handle."  You can easily grab onto a life jacket on a wet kid, which makes it important that the life jacket fit properly. A snug fit is a proper fit.  See:

From the DNR:

Child Life Jacket Wear Law Summary

life vest on a child
A legal measure that went into effect in 2005 requires children under age ten to wear a life jacket while boating in Minnesota.


Requires life jacket to be worn by children less than 10 years of age when aboard watercraft in Minnesota when the craft is under way (not tied up at a dock or permanent mooring).
Selecting a life vest for your child »
Wear your life jacket, get a treat »

  • When in an enclosed cabin or below the top deck on a watercraft.
  • When on an anchored boat that is a platform for swimming or diving.
  • When aboard a charter (passenger) craft with a licensed captain.
DNR Boating Guide

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Update: South Access

Long Lake’s South Access, just off of Highway 87 near Hubbard, is getting the facelift that was discussed at our LLAA Annual Meeting by Township Chair Jerry Brosdahl.

The project is expected to start on or before August 19th with completion in 15 business days if the weather cooperates.

The North Access on Long Lake, just off Hwy 34, has plenty of parking for trailers/vehicles for boaters to use in the meantime.

Here is the link to the recent article in the Park Rapids Enterprise (PRE):

When this project is completed we will post the after pictures.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Reminders on How to Be a Responsible Boat Operator

It’s against the law:
  • To operate a watercraft in a careless or reckless manner.
  • To operate a watercraft so its wash or wake endangers, harasses, or interferes with any person or property.
  • To operate a watercraft within an area legally marked off as a swimming area, or within 150 feet of a diver’s warning flag (see page 48).
  • To ride or sit on the gunwales, bow, transom, or decking over the bow, sides or stern of any motorboat while underway, unless it is equipped with an adequate railing. It is also illegal to operate a motorboat while any person is riding or sitting in a manner as just listed.
  • To chase wildlife with a motorboat, or operate a boat where it is prohibited – including marked spawning beds. Avoid traversing any emergent or floating vegetation, if possible.
  • To intentionally obstruct a seaplane.
  • To attach a watercraft to any buoy, except a mooring buoy, or to tamper, remove, or destroy a navigational aid.
  • To deposit or leave refuse in or upon the waters of the state or at public access areas.
  • To operate a watercraft so it obstructs ordinary navigation.


PERSONAL WATERCRAFT - also known as Jet Skis or Wave Runners.

Personal watercraft is defined by law as a motorboat that is:
  • Powered by an inboard motor powering a water jet pump or by an outboard or propeller-driven motor.
  • Designed to be operated by a person or persons sitting, standing, or kneeling on the craft, rather than in the conventional manner of sitting or standing inside a motorboat.
All personal watercraft are considered motorboats and therefore any regulations that govern other motorboats (such as fishing boats, cabin cruisers, etc.) also govern personal watercraft.

In summary, the law requires that:

  • Anyone operating or riding on a personal watercraft must wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved wearable life jacket that is compatible with that activity (check the label).
  • Personal watercraft must travel at slowno-wake speed (5 mph or less) within150 feet of nonmotorized boats, shore (unless launching or landing skiers directly to or from open water), docks, swim rafts, swimmers, or any moored or anchored boat.
  • Operation of personal watercraft is allowed only from 9:30 a.m. to 1 hour before sunset.
  • If you tow a person on water skis, or any other device, there must be an additional person on board the personal watercraft to act as an observer. (The observer does not have to be facing backward.)
  • Factory-installed or factory-specified wide-field rearview mirrors are allowed instead of an observer when pulling a skier or other device (tube, kneeboard, etc.).
  • After-market mirrors, stick-on mirrors, motorcycle mirrors, etc., do not qualify for the observer exemption.
  • The skier/knee-boarder etc. must also be wearing a life jacket or there must be one on board the personal watercraft for the skier.
  • If the machine is equipped by the manufacturer with a lanyard-type engine cutoff switch, it must be attached to the person, life jacket or clothing of the operator when underway.
  • You may not operate a personal watercraft if any part of the spring-loaded throttle system has been removed or tampered with so it interferes with the return-to-idle system.
  • You may not chase or harass wildlife.
  • You may not travel through emergent or floating vegetation at greater than slow no-wake speed.
  • You may not operate a personal watercraft in a manner that unreasonably or unnecessarily endangers life, limb or property. You may not weave through congested watercraft traffic, or jump the wake of another watercraft within 150 feet of the other watercraft. This includes other personal watercraft.
  • A personal watercraft rules decal issued by the DNR needs to be on the craft in full view of the operator.
  • You may not operate a personal watercraft while facing backward.
  • It is unlawful for the owner of the personal watercraft to permit its operation in violation of the age restrictions (see next page).
  • Some lakes have additional restrictions, see and click on local water restrictions.
  • A person on a waterjet propelled accessory to a personal watercraft is operating a personal watercraft and must follow all regulations.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

You too can be a Meanderer!

Help is needed with our Long Lake Neighborhood Aquatic Vegetation "Meanders" in Neighborhoods 1, 2, 5,and 6 for 2019.  Neighborhoods 3 and 4 have teams in place already.  We want to complete this by Labor Day while vegetation is still identifiable and present.  Please contact Sharon at 763-355-7908 to be part of the team to help protect Long Lake and/or to just learn to identify the vegetation at the end of your dock.

What is an Aquatic Vegetation Meander??  An aquatic vegetation meander is to go along the littoral area where vegetation grows in the lake in a watercraft in a pattern of choice to observe the vegetation in order to detect aquatic invasive species.  We are searching for the existence of AIS in Long Lake such as Starry Stonewort, Eurasion Watermilfoil, and Curly Leaf Pondweed.  If we find AIS early, there is a better chance for preventing its spread.

We boat slowly, peering into the water and sampling the aquatic vegetation where we don’t recognize the native vegetation.
You may use a rake, old fishing pole, or even a golf ball retriever to sample.
Polarized sunglasses help you see underwater better especially on a sunny, calm day.
One hour of training with Sharon will help you practice sampling with a rake, show you how to separate vegetation, and teach you to identify common vegetation in Long Lake.  We use our two professional surveys from 2011 and 2018 as our guide, see the link on our website: