“No Wake” Zones Doubled in Dickinson County

OKOBOJI, I.A. – With 4th of July celebrations kicking off this weekend, it’ll be a wild weekend for Okoboji, Iowa. Plenty of families are packing up their boats and ready to take sail. However, recent flooding means watergoers will have to abide by a new rule.

For the Foss family, the water is where all their stresses wash away.

“It’s the best water quality in the country,” said Mark Foss of Milford. “There’s lots of friendly people down here. It can be an adventure any day you’re out on the water.”

In fact, people travel to Okoboji for the water. Well, there’s been plenty of water recently, in fact, some would say too much.

“Water levels in the Okoboji and Spirit Lake have come up to a point where we’re taking some emergency actions,” said Mike Hawkins, District Biologist for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

With recent rainfall and flooding, the water is high. Now, there’s a new rule. For all recreational lakes in Dickinson County, the 300 foot “no wake” area is doubled to 600 feet. Boats, jet skis, or anything else can only go five miles per hour in that zone. So, double your distance from the buoys before speeding up.

Officials are trying to protect the environment. Water can erode the shorelines damage the private property on the perimeter of the lake.

“[We] just need to be a little more respectful, a little more mindful of what that wake from your boat is doing, and it is potentially doing to those shore lines,” said Hawkins.

Dickinson County Emergency Management crafted a plan for high waters about a month and a half ago. The team wasn’t expecting to need it so soon, especially on one of their busiest weekends on the year.

“The lakes get crowded, and with the no wake area out to 600 feet, that shrinks up the area,” said Mike Ehert, the Dickinson County Emergency Management Coordinator.

If you don’t trust yourself to keep your boat’s wake under control, maybe it’s time to take up kayaking, like Molly Foss.

“Just being out in nature and seeing all the -what nature has to enjoy,” she said.


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