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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.

The dates for Water Safety/Swim Classes in 2023 were:
Session I July 10 – 14
Session II July 17 - 21
Session III July 24 - 28

Registration for all three 2023 sessions were completely full. A total of 49 young swimmers received 134 weeks of instruction in the water.


Boating Safety:

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 sponsors 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.

2023 classes were held Wednesday June 6 and Thursday July 13.
At these two classes 44 young boaters were taught the basics and took the exam to get their Youth Operator Permits.

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.

2023 classes were held Thursday June 15 class  and Friday July 15.
Between the two classes 20 women participated and sharpened their boating skills

Note from a recent participant:
Members --
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!


Navigation and Hazard Buoys:

New in 2020 - To make boating the Whitefish Chain easier and safer -- after hours or under difficult weather -- we added new solar power colored lights to the majority of our 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.  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.

Background: The oral history of the Whitefish Chain Yacht Club was established in 1952 by a group of lake residents to mark the rock pile in the Foley Bar that was claiming the lower units of their boats. Since that time WCYC has continuously provided, installed, removed and maintained navigation and safety buoys on the chain.

Numbering now he more than 110 These include:
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.