DNR warning: Waters dangerously high and fast

(Released June 19, 2014)

Following recent rains across the state, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is urging boaters, paddlers and swimmers to think twice before heading out on the water right now.

People must be especially cautious around high water; making sure they wear a life jacket and are aware of local flooding conditions and alerts. People also should not venture into flooded areas.

“Rivers, lakes and streams around Minnesota are extremely swollen and that water is cooler than normal,” said Kara Owens, DNR boat and water safety specialist. Water temperatures around the metro are hovering around 70 degrees, which is 5-10 degrees colder than normal.

“Stream and river currents are also extremely strong and moving fast, which many boaters and swimmers are not used to,” Owens said.

Boaters should also be aware that there’s more debris in the water. That includes both natural and man-made objects that have been swept into the river.

“Debris will often float just at or below the surface,” Owens said. “Hitting a log at high speed could result in damage to boats or serious injuries.”

So far this year, three people have died in boating accidents compared to five this time last year.

A no-wake zone is currently in effect on rivers and lakes around the metro, including the St. Croix River from Taylors Falls to Prescott, Prior Lake and Lake Minnetonka. The Minneapolis locks on the Mississippi River are closed to both recreational and commercial traffic.

For more information, visit the DNR website.