The Michigan Lakes and Streams Association Board voted to make a significant contribution in 2020 to a study on boat-generated wake waves. We are pleased to share with you the results of that study, released today. MLSA is also looking forward to working with state partners to create guidelines for the protection of our inland lakes and streams in Michigan.

Update from Jeff Marr & Andy Riesgraf,
The Healthy Waters Initiative Research Team:

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 wakesurfing 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.

Study Links

Michigan Lakes and Streams Association will continue to bring you information about further studies and Michigan specific initiatives as they develop.

Lake Research Student Grants Program
February 2022 Newsletter