Weather Alert

Potential boat ramp hazards possible due to low water levels

DES MOINES — Low water levels brought on by the ongoing drought are starting to cause problems for some boaters on Clear Lake and the Iowa Great Lakes.

“When the water goes down, boat ramps are not made for the length of (boat) trailers that we are currently having these days and when people put their boats on the trailer, they power their boat on and that prop wash will blow out a hole behind the cement of the boat ramp,” says Captain Greg Harson is a supervisor in the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Bureau.

Harson says boaters need to be aware their trailers can fall into that hole. If that happens, Harson has some advice for avoiding major damage.

“(If the) trailer’s loaded and you try to pull that boat trailer back out, that axle has a better than fair chance of coming off the trailer or wrecking your tires or rims or any of those combinations,” he says, “so I would get the weight off of your trailer and either have somebody lift up the trailer and pull the trailer out or at least get it back up on the ramp in some way before you put the boat back onto that trailer.”

Similar problems are being reported at other lakes and rivers around the state where water levels are below normal levels. Officials say there’s been a statewide increase in boat registrations during the pandemic.


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