Navigation and Hazard Buoys:
New in 2020 - To make boating the Whitefish Chain easier and safer -- after hours or under difficult weather -- we are adding new color-lighted navigation buoys. These buoys will show the way to and through all the major channels, day and night.
Background: The Whitefish Chain Yacht Club has continuously provided, installed, removed and maintained the more than 100 navigation and safety buoys on the chain.
To accomplish this, in 2019 we conducted a capital improvement project. As a testament to the generosity of our community, we received 101 'Light the Buoys' donations totaling $18,460. For more info please see the Light The Buoys page.
27 pairs of red/green channel marker buoys,
49 slow/no wake buoys, and
12 hazard buoys.
Placement of the buoys is determined by Crow Wing County ordinance. Enforcement is the responsibility of the Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Department Water Patrol.
With the installation of the buoys for the 2020 boating season , the project is substantially complete. Solar powered lights (red and green) have been installed on the red and green navigation buoys which mark the entrance to all the main channels on the Chain. The Slow/No Wake buoys at the channel entrances also have lights (white) installed. Many of the Slow/No Wake buoys in the longer channels (Whitefish/Rush and Crosslake/Daggett) also have added lights. Details on the Light The Buoys project page.
The danger buoys marking the rock pile off O’Brien’s Point flash twice every four seconds as specified by US Coast Guard standards.* Boaters should keep in mind that these buoys mark a hazard to be avoided, keep well clear of the marked area - DO NOT navigate between the danger buoys.
You can assist us in enhancing boating safety by reporting any vandalism to buoys on the lakes -- or reckless boating -- to the Sheriff's Water Patrol. Their telephone number is 218-829-4749.
To report missing or misplaced buoys, please use this Buoy Maintenance Request Form. It will send your report directly to our buoy chairman.
*Note that because the Whitefish Chain is technically a reservoir flowing ultimately into the Mississippi, US Coast Guard standards apply.
The interactive map below is an experimental view of the navigation buoys on the Chain. It is accurate, but not complete.
Youth Boating - Minnesota law requires youths ages 12 - 17 to have either a Minnesota Watercraft Operator's Permit or a similar certification from their home state.
WCYC and C&C Boat Works sponsor these classes, presented by the Crow Wing County Sheriff's Water Patrol. They teach the basics of safe boat operation and the students complete the state exam themselves. Each session is followed by lunch (pizza of course - it's at Zorbaz!) and allows for on-the-water training supervised by the instructors. Participants do not need to be club members (or children of members) to register.
Registration is open and available here:
Wednesday June 23 and Wednesday July 21
Boating Safety Instruction Classes for Women (aka 'Women at the Helm') - These free boating basics and safety classes, co-sponsored by Bertha Boatworks, are designed for those not generally at the helm or are new to operating their own boat. Participants learn how to start and stop their vessel, how to dock it, and basic handling principals. Also included are descriptions of what causes boating mishaps and how to minimize them, how to handle emergencies if you need to take over, what equipment should be on board, and common boating jargon.
Registration is open and available here:
Friday June 18 and Friday July 16
Note from a recent participant:
Thanks so much for hosting the recent "Women at the Helm" class at Bertha Boatworks. What we learned was really valuable and Jonny was so patient with us "nervous women" landing at the docks. It's a really worthwhile thing to host.
I would really recommend it to others, thanks so much!
Water Safety / Swimming Classes:
WCYC has been sponsoring accredited swimming lessons since 1968. Over that time, more than 4000 swimmer sessions have been taught. Lessons are offered each July to children 5 years of age and older and are offered at no charge.
These classes cover basic skills for safely being in and enjoying our lakes. Parents who register their children do not need to be club members.
Classes are half an hour long, starting at 10:30 am for the Advanced Group and go until 12:30 pm, finishing with the Beginners. Classes are held regardless of weather.
The dates for Water Safety/Swim Classes in 2021 are planned to be:
Session I July 5 – 9
Session II July 12 - 16
Session III July 19 - 23
Registration is now open. Swimming / Water Safety Classes Registration