The Waupaca County Sheriff's Office Water Patrol provides boating law enforcement on Waupaca County’s rivers, lakes and streams. On the Chain O Lakes, scheduled patrol began on Memorial Day Weekend and continued through Labor Day Weekend.
Waupaca County Sheriff’s Water Patrol Sergeant Bryan Stelzner shared some of this year’s numbers specific to the Chain O Lakes for the summer of 2016.
A total of 589.5 water patrol hours were logged resulting in 34 citations, 88 written and 337 verbal warnings. Three Operating While Intoxicated citations were performed. Stelzner says these numbers were all down from previous years, perhaps suggesting that their presence is making a difference with boater behavior on the Chain.
The most numerous call-in complaints were skiing after hours and boats pulling tubers in slow no wake zones. The most common reason for pulling over boaters were speed in slow no wake zones, after hours skiing and tubing, and unreadable registration decals or numbers.
Special patrols were done for the Long Lake party, July 3rd fireworks and Chain Skiers water ski shows.
Sergeant Stelzner would also like to mention that people using paddleboards and kayaks are required to have a personal flotation device the same as any boat. They seem to encounter many who do not know this requirement.
The Sheriff’s Office Water Patrol Officers utilize four boats used for carrying out their duties. The whole program is subsidized in part by the Department of Natural Resources along with Waupaca County and corresponding townships. The two Chain O Lakes boats owned by the Townships of Dayton and Farmington are Crestliners, including a new one this past summer to replace the aged Alumacraft boat. They were also provided a personal watercraft from Yamaha and Green Lake Powersports for patrol use on the chain, wolf river and other lakes throughout the county. These crafts are also outfitted with lifesaving and emergency medical equipment.
Water Patrol Officers are responsible for patrol, enforcement, emergency response, assisting boaters in need, accident investigation and assisting in search and rescue on the Wolf River; Chain O Lakes and all other lakes (126 total) covering almost 6,500 acres as well as all other rivers and streams within Waupaca County. They also assist neighboring counties when needed during emergencies.