Water Safety Articles

Discover the Park – Activities

Wave Watch buoys are live! Watch the deployment video and learn how the buoys can help you stay safe on the water

Wave Watch buoys are live! Watch the deployment video and learn how the buoys can help you stay safe on the water

With light winds, sunshine and mild temperatures, deployment day was nearly perfect. On the morning of May 29th, a team loaded a National Park Service boat with buoys, anchor lines, hardware and high-visibility flags, then set out from Roy's Point for the north end of Long Island - the entrance to Chequamegon Bay. There, they deployed the first solar-powered spotter buoy for the 2024 season, as part of the Wave Watch boater safety project. Watch the video and read on for details.  Click to read video transcript (Adobe Acrobat PDF reader required)The Wave Watch buoy deployed at Long...

Know before you go: Get your free Wave Watch QR code cling for the upcoming boating season

Know before you go: Get your free Wave Watch QR code cling for the upcoming boating season

One scan of this new Wave Watch QR Code and you’ll be safer on the water this boating season. Friends of the Apostle Islands has partnered with researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the National Park Service to create Wave Watch, a series of strategically placed weather buoys offering boaters free, real-time wave data for five popular boating locations in the Apostle Islands starting in June of 2024. See the real-time data here. Grab a FREE 4x4 inch sticker or cling for your boat window or water bottle or anywhere on your vessel. Scan the QR Code with your phone and you’ll...

Ageless in the Apostles: Are you ever too old for an island adventure?

Ageless in the Apostles: Are you ever too old for an island adventure?

At what age should one stop kayak camping in the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore? Sixty? Seventy? Even eighty years old?  For more than 30 years a group of us has been spending a long weekend over the 4th of July holiday kayaking and camping in the Apostle Islands. We are all aging (the median age of the group was 70 this year), but we are still strong paddlers and competent campers. Perhaps it was only the oldest one of us who had been giving the “at what age …” question serious consideration. Come along with us on this year’s holiday trip. Perhaps you can help answer the question. Maybe...

The Big Chill: What causes dramatic changes in Lake Superior water temperatures?

The Big Chill: What causes dramatic changes in Lake Superior water temperatures?

After a hot, sweaty hike, there’s nothing more refreshing than a dip in the lake at Julian Bay Beach on Stockton Island. If Lake Superior stays calm enough long enough, the shallowest water, warmed by the sun, can be pleasantly refreshing. Wade out farther and you’ll find the significantly colder water just a few feet below the surface. However, if you throw in some wind and waves, the water temperature can and does drop dramatically. On a much larger scale, surface water temperatures in Lake Superior are always changing, as they are in Julian Bay. In late July surface water temperatures on...

Attention Paddlers and Boaters: The Buoys are Back!

Attention Paddlers and Boaters: The Buoys are Back!

“The lake is the boss” and “know before you go” are literally words to live by when kayaking in the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. Before your next paddling or boating adventure, it pays to learn as much as you can about the weather forecast and wave conditions. Lake Superior can be glass-calm in one instant and a short time later you might face three-foot waves from a fast-moving storm. The islands themselves influence wind and wave patterns every day and the cold water presents and ever-present risk of hypothermia. That’s why proper gear, training and forecast knowledge are so...

Watch now: Paddling the Apostles – Sense of Adventure series premiere

Watch now: Paddling the Apostles – Sense of Adventure series premiere

Paddling the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is an experience like no other in the world. Only in the park can you experience the combination of stunning sandstone sea caves carved by wind and water, pristine beaches and by area, the largest freshwater lake in the world. The park includes an archipelago of 21 islands, 155 miles of shoreline and more than 27,000 square acres of water. Sometimes the big lake is glass calm. Sometimes it can generate massive powerful waves, just like an inland ocean. Even during the hottest days of summer, the lake is cold enough to take your life if you’re...

Ahead of holiday weekend, Wisconsin DNR encourages paddlers, boaters to wear PFDs

Ahead of holiday weekend, Wisconsin DNR encourages paddlers, boaters to wear PFDs

Wearing a personal flotation device when you're boating can literally be a life saver. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources made that point today, in releasing a report on boating fatalities so far during 2021. All six people had one thing in common: none wore PFDs. Of the six, two were kayakers, two were canoeists and two were in motorboats. In a news release, DNR Boating Law Administrator Darren Kuhn said, “Safety is an important part of water fun. Most drowning victims on Wisconsin waterbodies were not wearing life jackets.” The DNR says operator inexperience, inattention,...

Weather forecast change for Apostle Islands boaters, paddlers, sailors, is now in effect

Weather forecast change for Apostle Islands boaters, paddlers, sailors, is now in effect

In an effort to improve boater safety, changes made by the National Weather Service will result in marine forecasts and alerts targeted specifically to an area in the Apostle Islands that had been covered by offshore forecasts. The Weather Service Forecast Office in Duluth is removing a large portion of the offshore zone (in purple) and turning it into a near shore zone, which includes the Apostle Islands beyond 5 nautical miles from the mainland. This change allows forecasters to deliver marine forecasts and small craft advisories tailored to the unique conditions in the islands. National...