Friday, January 21, 2022


Despite a failed attempt in the U.S. Senate, more than 200 business owners call for federal reforms to strengthen election laws, and the U.S. Supreme Court deals another blow to abortion providers.


President Biden gets cheers and jeers as he marks his first year in the White House, the Jan. 6 committee wants to hear from Ivanka Trump, and the Supreme Court rejects another challenge to the Texas abortion law.


Expanded broadband akin to electrification in rural America 80 years ago; small Wyoming grocery store survives monopolization; revitalized Kansas town gets national recognition; and Montana's Native communities look for voter suppression work-arounds.

MN Asked to Step Up Boater Training with Certificate Program


Thursday, October 21, 2021   

BRAINERD, Minn. - Minnesota boat owners are storing their watercraft for the winter. But that isn't stopping the conversation about responsible water recreation. Groups calling for more safety requirements say it's about preserving lakes for future seasons.

Watercraft used for certain lake activities like wakesurfing is getting bigger and more powerful. That's led to concerns about large waves harming shorelines and vegetation.

Jeff Forester, executive director of Minnesota Lakes and Rivers Advocates, said it's why his group wants the Department of Natural Resources to require a boat operator's safety certificate.

"Lakes are extremely complex and very fragile," said Forester. "So, the training in lake ecology that would come along with the boater operator certification I think could go a long way toward helping people protect and preserve lakes. "

He noted that Minnesota also just had its deadliest summer on lakes since 2005. The DNR says among fatalities, 17 stemmed from boating accidents.

The department is being asked to include the certificate language in its next agency bill in the Legislature. DNR officials say they support more education, but add it's too soon to say whether there will be talks to include it.

Supporters say it isn't about cracking down on boaters, as they understand how significant water recreation is to Minnesota.

Steve Frawley, chair of the government relations committee of the Gull Chain of Lakes Association, said he's worried about increased traffic from wakesurfing, and feels the training could be one of several solutions in ensuring that all residents enjoy the lakes for years to come.

"I think it would be very important to have some kind of a certification process so that people understand the impact of these boats," said Frawley, "especially on narrower and shallower lakes."

Current Minnesota statute does have permit language for teenagers. Forester called it a good first step.

But he said with boat sales increasing by 30% during the pandemic, it's clear there are new boat owners who could use some training.

"The boating industry is really innovative and has been changing a lot in the last few years," said Forester.

He said the sophisticated watercraft requires more skills and greater awareness.

The request calls for creating a working group to determine the parameters of a certification program.

Disclosure: Minnesota Lakes and Rivers Advocates contributes to our fund for reporting on Climate Change/Air Quality, Public Lands/Wilderness, Sustainable Agriculture, Water. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

get more stories like this via email
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2018 to fill the seat previously held by Republican Jeff Flake. (Flickr)

Social Issues

A wave of new Arizona voters in the 2020 election changed the normally conservative state to one where progressive candidates and ideas have a fightin…


The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to use federal funds for a project to help keep invasive carp out of the Great Lakes. It is proposing using …

Social Issues

Healthcare workers at an Oregon hospital have achieved what they say is a "win" after several strikes in recent months. Nearly 300 workers and …

Pennsylvania has over 300 million square feet of big-box building rooftops, which new research suggests could provide almost half the electricity that these buildings consume if they were outfitted with solar panels. (Adobe Stock)


As Pennsylvania continues to grow its solar-energy capacity, a new report found the roofs of big-box stores present a big opportunity to increase …

Social Issues

If Iowa wants to create healthier outcomes for its residents, advocates say there are steps policymakers can take right now to make it happen…

Over the course of the pandemic, North Dakota has received more than $350 million in federal aid to help struggling renters, but says it has sent back roughly 40% of that money unspent. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

North Dakota has returned a significant portion of the rental assistance provided by the federal government in the pandemic, but groups working …

Social Issues

Nearly 1,200 Hoosiers are about to have some of their student-loan debt forgiven, as part of a multistate settlement with the student-loan-servicing …

Social Issues

After a defeat on Wednesday, Democrats in the U.S. Senate say they'll keep trying to pass voting-rights legislation, and one Wisconsin group wants …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021