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Buoy System

The Gull Chain of lakes is a series of eight lakes and two bays. On the northern portion of the chain there are six lakes connected by a series of channels that wind through beautiful forests. There is also a rock reef in the middle of the northern portion of Gull Lake itself, a result of the ice ages long ago. The combination of these makes the Gull Chain beautiful, but also presents many navigational challenges. The buoys on the Gull Lake Chain are mainly of two groups:

(1) Enforcement, no-wake buoys - these are in the channel areas at the north end of the lake. When boating in these areas you are required to slow to "the slowest speed necessary to maintain steerage", with a maximum speed of five M.P.H. These areas are aggressively enforced so please slow down. See diagram for these areas.

(2) Navigational buoys -  These buoys are installed to assist you to have a safe and enjoyable time on our lake. These buoys are placed as a guide only, one can go inside of them on points, but you may hit a shallow area or rocks.  

Click on the map for a detailed view of the buoys on the Gull Lake Chain.

The Gull Chain of  Lakes Association installs the system of navigational buoys in mid-April when the ice leaves our lakes and removes them in mid-October, with the exception of the rock reef in the middle of the main lake. One buoy is left marking the east end of the rock reef until early to mid November.

Gull Lake is marked with a system of over 90 lighted buoys that mark most navigational hazards and the channel network at the north end of the chain. The Gull Chain of Lakes Association also installs 16 no wake zone buoys for Cass County and Crow Wing County sheriff departments.  These buoys are installed around the first of May and removed around the middle of September.

The location of the buoys is controlled by the county sheriffs.  GCOLA places the buoys per their instructions.  If you feel a buoy should be moved, added or removed, please contact the appropriate sheriff's office.

Seasonal absence  of the buoys does not change the regulations.  It is the responsibility of all boat operators to observe no-wake zones whether buoys are present or not.

Snowmobile trail map.jpg

Click here or on the map above for a PDF of the map and safety rules.

The red lines indicate marked snowmobile trails and the red dots are buoy placements

Adopt-A-Buoy Program

Have your name or that of someone special on a Gull Chain buoy.  Buoys are available for adoption with a one time-payment of $500 for five years. Contact for more information.


Click here for a map of the buoys that are adopted and/or available.

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