The Douglas County Sheriff is responsible for the safety and regulation of all lakes, rivers and waterways by authority of Minnesota State Statute 86B.105. To accomplish this directive, the Sheriff appoints special Water Patrol Deputies. Water Patrol Deputies are directed to conduct patrol activities on the lakes, rivers and waterways to maintain a visible presence; enforce compliance with the Minnesota Boat and Water Safety Act Chapter 86B, Minnesota DNR Boat and Water Safety Rules Chapter 6110, and Douglas County Ordinances; promote safe boating activities; render aid to boaters in distress; and investigate boating related complaints and crashes. Deputies also conduct boating and water safety educational talks and presentations.
Water Patrol Deputies are trained and licensed peace officers. Deputies aggressively enforce Minnesota’s Boating While Intoxicated laws to ensure the safety of all persons using the lakes, rivers and waterways in Douglas County.
Early in the boating season, late April or early May, Water Patrol Deputies begin the week-long process of placing in excess of 120 navigational and water hazard buoys in the lakes and waterways. Water Patrol Deputies also conduct safety inspections of all rental, lease, charter and resort watercraft that operate in Douglas County. Throughout the boating season, Deputies continue to monitor safe boating conditions on the lakes, rivers and waterways.
The Douglas County Water Patrol unit operates under the directive of the Sheriff, and is supervised by a Sergeant. The Water Patrol unit comprises of three full-time licensed seasonal Deputies. Throughout various times during the summer months, full-time Road Deputies and volunteer Sheriff’s Posse members assist Water Patrol Deputies with enforcement patrol activities. From the Minnesota Fishing Opener weekend through the Labor Day Holiday weekend, Water Patrol Deputies are on duty each and every day.
Water Patrol Deputies also work closely with the Sheriff’s Dive Rescue Team during training exercises and while conducting searches for missing boaters, and drowning victims. Water Patrol Deputies are also on-call to respond to water related emergencies as needed.
If you have any further questions, concerns or comments, please feel free to contact us by calling 320-762-8151 or emailing the department contact on the right side of this page.