Stearns County Water Patrol Keep Lakes Safe During Summertime [VIDEO]
COLD SPRING - With summer in full swing, the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office Water Patrol is out making sure everyone is safe on the water.
The water patrol enforces rules on the lake and also educates the public on boat safety. Sergeant Kellan Hemmesch says they typically have eight people out on patrol during the weekend and holidays.
"We want everyone to be able to enjoy themselves out on the lake in a safe manner. Nothing worse than someone getting hurt and ruining a good day out on the lake"
Patrol boats have two-person teams with shifts that can last from the morning to late at night. Hemmesch says they keep a close eye out for drunken boating, kids not wearing lifejackets and boat registration.
"We'll also do a safety check on the boat and make sure they have the proper amount of life jackets and other requirements like a fire extinguisher and if they have their navigational lights on at night."
A top priority for the patrol is to find and stop drunken boating. If someone is over the limit, they are placed into custody and are taken to shore for processing.
"Most of our fatal accidents that happen within the state involve alcohol and even about 50 percent of the non-fatal accidents involve alcohol. So that's a big priority for us."
The Water Patrol is also responsible for placement, removal and maintenance of over 60 bouys that mark no-wake zones in area lakes. They may also help the Stearns County dive team if assistance is needed.
Water patrol members enjoy the chance to interact with the community. Hemmesch says many new deputies are a part of the water patrol team and enjoy getting experience interacting with the public on the water.
-Thanks to WJON's Josh Akkerman for taking video for the story-