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U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
St. Paul District
Public Affairs Office
332 Minnesota St., Suite E1500
St. Paul, MN 55101

Phone: (651) 290-5807
Fax: (651) 290-5752 


Water rescue underscores need for safety while celebrating the holiday

Published July 2, 2019

ST. PAUL, Minn. – With many people celebrating on the water this 4th of July, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District, extends a word of caution to everyone recreating – especially after a recent boat rescue at Lock and Dam 3 June 26.

Last week when a disabled pontoon was headed toward the dam’s roller gates, operators at Lock and Dam 3, near Red Wing, Minnesota, launched the emergency boat to rescue the boat’s passengers. Everyone involved escaped without injury thanks to the hasty efforts of lock personnel and responders with the Prairie Island Police Department and Goodhue County Sheriff's Office.

This good news story – and the fact that river currents remain strong following spring flooding – provides an opportunity to highlight best practices when planning a trip on the water:

  • Carry a marine radiotuned to channel 16, designated as the international distress frequency
  • Carry extra gas – swift river currents can quickly push disabled vessels into harm’s way
  • Carry an appropriate-sized anchor – the anchor should be able to still your vessel, with enough line to remain secure at alternate depths
  • Observe restricted areas – set at 600-feet upstream of a dam and 150-feet below
  • Be courteous of other vessels – especially commercial tows, which will be more prevalent on the water and take up to a quarter-mile to stop

Finally, it’s been a long spring with historic lake and river levels across the Upper Midwest. These high waters continue to plague several locations across the region to include the Mississippi River. Caution is urged if boating on the river due to sediment shifting into areas that are normally much deeper. Please be aware that channel conditions and depths can change rapidly and without warning.

For information on locking through a lock and dam:

Find photos of the water rescue:   

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Release no. 19-054