Friday, April 15, 2022 at 5:30 p.m.

That’s the time that the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office officially declared an ice-out on Lake Minnetonka.

The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office Water Patrol Unit in partnership with Freshwater, a non-profit organization, has jointly declared Ice Out for Lake Minnetonka for over a decade. On Friday, April 15 at 5:30 p.m., water patrol deputies, along with members of Freshwater, were able to safely pilot a patrol boat through all the lake’s channels and 37 bays without obstruction by ice. The tradition of declaring Ice Out on Lake Minnetonka, which is just over 14,500 acres, is the official start to the boating season.

Last year, the sheriff’s office declared ice out on March 30. In 2020, it was declared on April 2 and in 2019 on April 20. In 2018, the ice out was not declared until May 5.

In a release announcing the ice out, the sheriff’s office offered some safety tips while boating.

“Although it might not feel like boating weather right now, we know that people are ready to get outside and enjoy themselves,” said Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office Water Patrol Lt. Bret Cline. “We’re encouraging everyone who goes on the lake to remember water safety. We want people to take advantage of the natural resources Hennepin County has to offer but to do so responsibly.”

Here are some specific tips from the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office Water Patrol:

• Be extra vigilant operating a boat - There are many navigational buoys on Lake Minnetonka that are not in place yet.

• Wear a life jacket - Currently, water temperatures are very cold on all bodies of water. If you were to fall in, hypothermia can set in quickly in these conditions.

• Let someone know where you are and where you plan to go - when boating or spending time near water, make sure a family member or friend knows your whereabouts and when you plan to return.

• Always supervise children - Parents and caregivers are urged to keep a close eye on children when they are in a boat or simply near the water.

In addition, Sophia’s Law requires that all recreational boats with an enclosed accommodation compartment, including sailboats with motors, must be equipped with a watercraft carbon monoxide detector.

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