Navigation and Hazard Buoys:
Background: The Whitefish Chain Yacht Club has continuously provided, installed, removed and maintained the more than 100 navigation and safety buoys on the chain.
New for 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.
To accomplish this, in 2019 we conducted a capital improvement project and the results were quite impressive. 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.
At the beginning of the 2019 boating season, slow/no wake buoys had been lit at several locations to aid nighttime navigation, specifically: the entrances to each channel between the major lakes, through the Rush Lake no wake zone, and through the channel between Cross Lake and Daggett Lake.
WCYC then undertook to make significant additions to the number and locations of added buoys to be lighted. (Details on the Light The Buoys project.)
As of July 4, 2019, lights had been added to the red and green navigation buoys which mark the entrance to the above channels, with more to be added with the goal of lighting all the main channels by spring of 2020.
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. The remainder of the danger buoys are to be lit in 2020.
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.
The class schedule for 2019 has finished. We are planning to hold these classes again in June and July 2020; details and registration will be available May 1st. If you would like to be notified about 2020 classes, please register here.
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.
We are planning to hold these classes again in June and July of 2020. Details and registration will be available May 1st. If you would like to be notified about 2020 classes please sign up here.
Water Safety / Swimming Classes:
WCYC has been sponsoring accredited swimming lessons since 1967. 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.
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.
For reference, the dates for Water Safety/Swim Classes in 2019 were:
Session I July 8 – 12
Session II July 15 - 19
Session III July 22 - 26
We are planning to hold these classes again in July of 2020, and details will be available May 1st. If you would like to be notified about 2020 classes please sign up for the notification list.