Hennepin County is trying a new approach—flashing red and yellow lights, helpful signs and a place to pull over and check your boat without feeling rushed—to get more boaters to comply with regulations to slow the spread of aquatic invasive species.
The county collaborated with a University of Minnesota researcher for a year to study behavior patterns, including interviewing boaters to see what motivates them to check their boats properly. Research shows one out of five boaters don’t follow all the recommended prevention procedures for removing weeds and draining water from boats.
The research was used to develop a new pilot program at the county-operated North Arm Public Boat Access in Orono—one of the five busiest boat launches on Lake Minnetonka—to see if the right signage and a dedicated space to do the checks will result in more boaters properly checking their watercraft.
Additional research will be conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of the project, and more sites may be selected for similar signage.