Stearns County Putting Emphasis on Patrolling Lakes, Rivers
ST. CLOUD --With summer in full swing and the 4th of July holiday this week, many of us will look for some fun out on the lakes and rivers.
The Stearns County Sheriff's Office is reminding you patrols will be in full force to make sure boaters stay safe on the water. Patrol Deputy Andrew Struffert says while alcohol plays a factor in some boating accidents, there are several other causes.
Most of the crash I have taken in my career happen on sunny clear days, when alcohol wasn't a factor. It's just about paying attention and knowing your surroundings.
In 2016, deputies spent over 3,400 hours patrolling area lakes and rivers. He says with so many lakes in the county boat traffic and complaints play a big part on how they use their resources.
We know certain lakes are busier than others. We don't normally patrol lakes without public accesses, but the ones that do get extremely busy. So we try to prioritize those over others.
Struffert says Stearns County has one of the largest water patrol units in the state with 20 part-time and two full-time deputies out every single weekend.
Last year Stearns County issued over 300 written warnings to boaters. Struffert says it's not about writing warnings but making sure the rules are followed and families stay safe.