Older Pontoon Boat Found at the Bottom of Pike Lake in Cook County

The Cook County Sheriff’s Office is asking the public for help identifying the owner of an overturned pontoon boat resting under 25 feet of water at the bottom of Pike Lake in Cook County. 

The boat was discovered by fishermen last summer who were using an underwater camera to discern the bottom structure, presumably to aid in catching fish. 

Cook County Search and Rescue used its new side-scan sonar equipment to determine the boat’s precise location and capture video of its condition.

The side-scan sonar equipment is a recent addition to the water-based work of the Sheriff’s Department. Side-scan sonar is ideal for search and survey operations because it can quickly scan large areas. Gunflint Trail Search and Rescue, led by Michael Valentini, raised the funds to cover the $100,000 cost of the equipment.

The pontoon appears to be of an older vintage. It may have been scuttled, without its motor, many years ago. “I’m guessing that it has been on the bottom for quite some time,” Sheriff Pat Eliasen said.

State law prohibits sinking watercraft or other vehicles in Minnesota lakes and rivers. According to MN Statute 86B.10, owners of sunken crafts and vehicles must report the incident to the Sheriff’s office with jurisdiction within 48 hours of the incident. The owner is responsible for removing or arranging to remove the boat at their sole expense.

The sheriff will have the boat recovered next spring. If its owner has yet to be identified, the cost of removal, estimated to be over $8,000, will be borne by Cook County taxpayers.

If you have any information about the owner of this pontoon boat, please call the Cook County Sheriff’s Office at 218-387-3030.