Lake Study Committee Update

Lake Study Committee Update

Below is an update that the Lake Study Committee would like to share with members regarding research done on ballast boats:

We are excited to announce that the first report from the St. Anthony Falls Laboratory (SAFL) Healthy Waters Initiative on boat-generated wake waves is now published and available for download. The full report is available via the University of Minnesota’s Digital Conservancy (link below). You can also read the University’s news release, as well as FAQs, by following the links below.

This report focuses on characterizing the wake waves produced by four recreational watercraft. Two of these boats are typical recreational watercraft used for cruising, waterskiing, and tubing, and represent boats that have been on Minnesota lakes for many decades. We also studied two wake surfing boats, newer to Minnesota’s waters. The report discusses the waves produced by these boats, including how the wave heights and energy within the waves changes with distance from the boat. We hope the data and findings presented in this report are useful for the common goals of developing guidance for shared-use of lakes, education and safety for boat operators and lake users, and the protection and conservation of Minnesota’s most amazing resource – our lakes and rivers.

We want to thank those that provided financial support to this research through our 2020 crowdfunding campaign. Your generosity provided vital resources and allowed us to gather valuable data to begin to better understand how our lakes are responding to recreational boating. This model of funding research is relatively new for SAFL and allowed us to quickly establish this project. It’s amazing to think that the crowdfunding was launched in late June 2020 and by September 2020 we had selected our study site, designed and fabricated all our sensor systems, secured boats for the study, and assembled our field team. Data and testing occurred over a very cold and unpredictable October 2020. And over the last year, we’ve been working to analyze data and develop this first report.

The report itself is published as a University of Minnesota – St. Anthony Falls Laboratory Project Report. This report has undergone an external technical review by subject matter experts. Two reviewers provided thorough critiques on a draft of the report. Over the last two months, we’ve worked through these reviews and developed the final version of the report.

Our research in this area will continue into the next phase of study, which will focus on the propeller wash generated by recreational boats and on the interactions of waves with lake bottoms, aquatic vegetation, and shorelines. Over the next few months we will also be developing several proposals to seek funding to support this next phase.

We will continue to post updates through the Healthy Waters Initiative website as we work to secure funding and develop our research plans.


With regards,

Jeff Marr & Andy Riesgraf

The Healthy Waters Initiative Research Team


Relevant Links

Full report: “A Field Study of Maximum Wave Height, Total Wave Energy, and Maximum Wave Power Produced by Four Recreational Boats on a Freshwater Lake”

News release:Boat-generated wake study

FAQs: Boat-generated wake study

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