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The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is warning boaters of the effects of low water levels in the state. 

The cause for the lower-than-average water levels is due to a lack of rainfall this summer. Specifically, parts of the state from the Twin Cities going south is suffering the most, making boat launching and retrieval a challenge at numerous lakes and rivers.

According to the DNR, when water levels decline, less of the boat ramp is underwater and that reduces the length of the ramp for a successful launch, which can cause problems getting the boat in and out of the water. 

“It’s difficult to get a trailer unstuck from a prop-wash hole,” said Nancy Stewart, DNR water recreation consultant. "Also, in the area past the hole, there is often a mound of sand or rock deposited by power loading. Boats can run aground on this material and not be able to get to deep water.”

The DNR's tips for boat launches in low water:

  • Check the firmness of the gravel at the end of the concrete ramp and the water depth
  • If the ramp you typically use is too shallow, use a smaller boat or a different body of water
  • Public access sites will have delays due to people having issues launching their boats
  • Be aware of any kind of obstructions in the water near public access points, including boulders or tree stumps

More on pop-wash holes and the problems they cause: 

"Prop-wash holes are caused by power loading, which happens when boat operators use the motor to load the watercraft onto the trailer instead of cranking the boat onto the trailer with the winch. The motor scours a hole in the sand and gravel at the end of the boat ramp. Subsequent, unsuspecting boaters can back into the prop-wash hole with their trailer," the DNR said in a release.

For more information, visit the DNR's website.

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