Everyday Heroes: Stearns County Water Patrol [VIDEO]
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CLEARWATER — Summer is in full swing with boaters, water skiers and any other kind of water related activity, and that means its the job of the Stearns County Water Patrol to keep everyone on the lakes safe.
Every weekend there are four patrol boats throughout the county lakes, each with two officers in them for safety reasons.
“We just cruise around the lakes looking at the water craft making sure the registration is current,” says Sgt Joe Lichy. “If we see a violation we just acknowledge the operator to stop his water craft.”
Deck riding is the most common violation they look for. However most of the time they make sure that boaters are following all the boat safety rules when it come to operating a water craft.
“When we see a violation we usually stand up and show who we are, wave them down and ask them to shut off their boats, then we pull up and talk to them,” says Sgt Lichy.
But just because they are on patrol doesn’t mean they will actually find something.
“Some days you drive around and not see anything,” says Sgt Lichy. “When that happens you’re just out making contact with home or resort owners and talking to them, seeing what’s going on.”
The fact that they get to spend every weekend out on the lake makes their job fun and enjoyable. However, as we all know, Minnesota weather can turn severe at any given moment.
“We have to stay on the lake to warn the other boaters that severe weather is coming in,” says Sgt Joe Lichy. “And sometimes we get caught in it and we can’t get off the water.”
And if you think the Water Patrol is just out there to ruin your fun summer, you are wrong. Their first and only goal is to make sure people come home from their days on the lake.
“We are not here to ruin anybody’s fun time,” says Sgt Lichy. “We are here to make sure everyone is safe and goes home.”
“Everyday Heroes” is a weekly WJON News feature spotlighting those who put their lives on the line every day to keep our communities safe.