City requests voluntary no-wake zone during high water
The City of Hastings is encouraging boaters to follow a voluntary no wake zone when the Mississippi River reaches high water levels. The area of concern begins near the train bridge and continues through the East Side residential area. Many homeowners in this area are affected by the heavy wake created when boats go speeding by when the river is at flood stage.
High water levels naturally create property damage through shoreline erosion. Boat wakes can significantly increase the level of damage to shoreline erosion, in addition to intensifying shoreline flooding.
"We've got residents in that area who need a little common courtesy," said Hastings City Councilmember Tony Alongi, who represents the area. "Some of them had waves lapping at their homes' foundations in recent years. We all share the river, which means we all share responsibility for doing the right thing. Boats should slow down in flood conditions, and anytime they see homes set close to a nearby shoreline."
By State Statute, “no person shall operate a watercraft in such a manner that its wash or wake will endanger, harass, or unnecessarily interfere with any other person or property”. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and law enforcement from both Washington and Dakota County will be patrolling the area occasionally to watch for excessive speed. Violators could be charged with a misdemeanor, in which a sentence of not more than 90 days or a fine of not more than $1,000, or both, may be imposed.
According to The National Weather Service, the Mississippi River at Hastings' Lock and Dam No. 2 had reached 13.25 feet Wednesday morning, April 30. Flood stage is at 15 feet. The National Weather Service predicted Wednesday the river would reach 15 feet by Sunday, May 4.