Protecting Minnesota Lakes for Future Generations

The Problem: Artificially-enhanced wakes created by wake boats and wake enhancing devices cause environmental damage to lakes and lakeshore, safety risks for people on the water and on shore, and physical damage to property and shorelines.

Environmental effects:​

  • Resuspension of sediment adds nutrients to the water which can lead to increased algal blooms

  • Nearshore turbidity

  • Shoreline erosion

  • Threat to aquatic life, nesting loons and waterfowl

  • Increased probability of AIS transmittal through ballast systems

Economic impacts:

  • Threat to MN Tourism
  • Damage to shoreline, rip-rap, trees, and natural buffers
  • Damage to docks, boats, and lifts
  • Diminished property values
  • Reduced tax base

Safety concerns:​

  • Dangerous water conditions for swimmers, fishermen and other watercraft

  • Dangerous conditions on shore and on docks

  • Obscured vision forward as ballast weighs down the stern and causes the bow to rise

SafeWakes Mission: 

Prevent environmental damage and injury to people and property caused by artificially-enhanced wakes.

SafeWakes Goal: 

Legislation to restrict the creation of enhanced wakes to areas of lakes that allow at least:

  • 1000 feet distance from the boat to shore
  • a minimum water depth of 16 feet

What you should know:

1. This activity is breaking current laws!  In Minnesota, the following is 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.
  • Wakes that erode shorelines and harass others are illegal in Minnesota.


2. How wakesurfing is different from other water sports:

  • The wave energy of wakesurfing wakes are 4 times that of wakeboarding wakes. Wakes can be 7 feet in height with half of the wake above the waterline and half below the waterline.
  • The thrust from a wakeboat can go down 16+ feet toward the lake bottom, causing major disruptions below the water.

3. Legislation is needed to restrict usage of wake boats and wake enhancing equipment to a minimum safe distance from shore, people and property, and to water deep enough to prevent environmental damage.

  • A minimum of 1000 feet from shore is required in order to not cause irreparable damage to the lake bottom and shoreline
  • A minimum of 16 feet of water depth is required in order to not cause irreparable damage to the lake bottom

4. Education is essential - BUT IT IS NOT ENOUGH - to stop the damage and dangers caused by enhanced wakes.  

  • This is no different than driving under the influence; we educate people not to drive while impaired, but we still make it against the law!