In an effort to warn boaters of low water levels, the Prior Lake Association recently launched a watercraft public safety campaign.
According to a press release from the group, the lack of rain and snow over the past year has resulted in an unusually low lake level on Prior Lake. Consequently, boaters are being warned to be especially watchful for rocks, stumps and sand bars, which can damage boats and injure passengers. Boat launches could also be a concern as boaters need substantial depth at the concrete launches.
Adam Proehl, president of the group, said the City of Prior Lake, Scott County Sheriff’s Office and Minnesota Department of Natural Resources are joining the effort.
“We are disseminating maps to lake associations, boat rentals, private marinas and affected governmental entities, so they can inform their members and customers of potentially dangerous underwater obstructions,” Proehl said. “We want to avoid watercraft damage and ensure boaters’ safety by alerting lake users of these sometimes invisible underwater obstacles.”
Trevor Pop, vice president of the group, said the low water level has also proven to be a problem for dock and boat lift companies that service Prior Lake and Spring Lake. He said servicing the hundreds of lakeshore owners has become more of a challenge and increasingly troublesome as the low levels have made it difficult for barges to get close enough to shore in order to properly install and remove lifts and docks.
“Not only do boat owners have to be mindful of the difficulties of launching their boats at the public and private ramps, but they will also have to closely monitor their boat lifts to make sure they can get their boats on and off their lifts as the lake levels fluctuate,” Pope said. “More importantly, our farmers, of course, need the rain but we’d love to see more rainfall to help them as well as raise our lake levels.”
Proehl said recent rain hasn’t been sufficient to maintain water levels.
He added that there are two main issues: hazards that weren’t present last spring and low water levels at launches. “When you load the boat back onto the trailer, do not rev the motor to give it the extra push,” he said. “It’s tempting, we get it, but if you do that, you’re likely making the problem worse.”
According to the Prior lake-Spring Lake Watershed District, the ordinary high water level of Prior Lake is 903.9 feet above sea level. As of April 14, the district gauge indicated a level of 900.23 feet. Boaters can obtain the latest reading by visiting the website at https://www.plslwd.org/