No wake restriction lifted just in time

ALBERT LEA, Minn. – The recent sunshine has helped soak up a lot of the water that was left sitting after recent storms. Thanks to that, after more than two weeks of restricting boats to speeds that do not create wakes, the Freeborn County Sheriff’s Office lifted the restriction Wednesday.

The Bayside Water Ski Team spends their summers out on the water, but this year they have not been getting as much time on the lake as they want because of the no wake restriction.

“We did a bunch of dry land, but there’s only so much you can learn putting pyramids up on dry land versus actually being on the water,” said Erik Johnson, Show Director for the Bayside Water Ski Team.

They did not waste any time getting back on Fountain Lake. An hour and a half after the restriction was lifted the crew was prepping for their biggest show of the year.

“We can finally just get on the water, which that’s the whole point we’re here. I mean, we love to entertain, we’re all kind of flashy people, love to show off a little bit, but we just want to be out there on the water,” Johnson said.

But they are not the only ones dying to get out there. Independence Day weekend is big for boating in Albert Lea.

Authorities say the water levels receded at just the right time.

“If we felt that the water level was not at an adequate level that we could have opened it, it would have been closed for the Fourth of July and boaters would not be able to travel faster than no wake, which really would be a detriment to this town,” said Matt Levorson, Water Patrol Deputy for the Freeborn County Sheriff’s Office.

Although the water level allows you to go a bit faster, he said it is still important to be aware of what you cannot see.

“There’s a lot of floating logs, floating debris, even some docks that have floated away still in the water, and some of those we’re unable to locate because the water is cloudy,” Levorson said.

Above all, he said to make sure you are being safe on the lakes because you are not the only one itching to get outside this weekend.

“This team is big into kids and we need to get these kids out having fun and they don’t have fun on dry land, they have fun on the water skiing,” Johnson said.

Levorson said make sure you have enough life jackets, throw cushions and a fire extinguisher on board. He also said to be courteous to others on the water. Travel at a safe speed and keep a good distance between you and other boats.

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