WISE: Water and Ice Safety Education
“The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office has always been tasked with responding to water emergencies. We are dedicated to keeping people safe around water. It’s that dedication that’s driving us to increase our water safety education options. We want everyone in Hennepin County to know how to keep themselves safe on or near the water.”
– Sheriff David. P. Hutchinson
In the Land of 10,000 Lakes, watersports are a way of life. In Hennepin County alone, there are 104 lakes and three rivers. The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) is responsible for the safety and regulation of all lakes and, in conjunction with the US Coast Guard and adjoining county sheriffs, the rivers of the county. One of the best ways that the HCSO can achieve safety on our lakes and rivers is through education. Through the Water and Ice Safety Education (WISE) program, HCSO works to educate the public on how to be safe during all types of water recreation.
About water patrol
The HCSO Water Patrol provides water safety education, patrols Hennepin County’s lakes and rivers, and responds to water-related emergencies. The HCSO Water Patrol is headquartered on Lake Minnetonka and partners with various agencies on water safety education.
Map of Lake Minnetonka (PDF)
HCSO Water Patrol responsibilities include:
- Patrolling Hennepin County’s lakes and rivers, both during boating season and winter
- Teaching water safety classes to the public
- Performing water rescue operations and ice rescue operations
- Investigating drownings in Hennepin County, including those in bodies of water, hot tubs, or any other vessels larger than a bathtub
- Monitoring lake ice thickness during winter.
- Partnering with Freshwater to declare Ice Out, marking the start of boating season
The HCSO Water Patrol is partnering with organizations around Hennepin County to offer water safety training and education. Resources include:
- Water safety information
- Swimming lessons information, including resources for low-income families