Michigan DNR Considers Inland Lake Wake Boat Restrictions.

Vikingstaff

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I just came across this article. It focuses on proposed rule changes in Michigan regarding limits to wake boats on inland Michigan lakes.

However, since this is a growing water sport activity, and for others a growing concern, nationally, I thought I’d drop it in the forums. Seems like an interesting topic, particularly for “pontooners” and lakefront owners.

Michigan DNR Considers Restrictions on Wake Boats
 
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Michiman

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Thanks for sharing! Obviously, this is a contentious subject that potentially could have a significant impact on both sides of the issue. Personally, I’m far more annoyed by the jet skis and pontoons that sometimes buzz the lakeshore in front of our cottage. Although they don’t throw a wake anything like a wake boat, their presence well within a hundred feet sometimes seems almost dangerous.
 

Bill N

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The 'erosion' argument is silly. The shoreline damage is nothing when compared with wind wave damage.
 

sjhorner9475

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TWRA recently passed new regulations restricting wake boats in TN. I have not seen TWRA officers out enforcing the rules at my lake and as a result, no changes in the way most operate their wake boats. Just a few weeks ago, I was waved down by a couple with a bass boat that had been flooded by a wake boat with a big wake getting too close to them. The old adage, "One bad apple spoils the whole bunch" comes to mind.
 

Bill N

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The fact that the fun hater's antiwakeboat arguments pivot from shore erosion to nuisance to lake bottom erosion to wildlife wreaks of desperation. Heck they will next argue that they are the cause of erectile dysfunction.
 

Vikingstaff

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Personally, I’m far more annoyed by the jet skis and pontoons that sometimes buzz the lakeshore in front of our cottage. Although they don’t throw a wake anything like a wake boat, their presence well within a hundred feet sometimes seems almost dangerous.
I agree with what you mention above. That is certainly a bigger issue on our lake Steve.

I once had two teens on a jet ski doing donuts about 5-10’ off the end of our dock in 2’ deep water. They jetted off as I walked out of the cottage. One micro-second misstep on their part, and you’re talking some major injuries…maybe death.

I think the fact we are such a shallow lake to begin with leads to most wake boaters primarily hitting up other lakes.
 

PartyBarge

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The 'erosion' argument is silly. The shoreline damage is nothing when compared with wind wave damage.
Absolutely NOT correct for our lake! We have had a presence on this lake for more than 40 years and it's only in the last 10 or 15 that extensive shore line damage has been a problem. In fact the problem is so great the "friends of the lake" and Duke Power have put riprap on the most effected areas of various islands (that are now up to 50% smaller than just 15 years ago). We have had riprap for all of that 40+ years and the difference compared to adjacent property that more recently got riprap (or still have none) is obvious! I can also testify to reduced property damage too. I've repaired broken lines, ripped out cleats and dock/lift damage. Twice the aft corner of our pontoon was put up on the dock by huge rollers.

The energy and shape of intentionally created wakes is higher and more damaging than any storm driven waves here and we've had some impressive hurricane remnants! During the summer the monster boat wakes are day-in-day-out and three times as bad on weekends. Storms are not even in the same league as that!

Thankfully, South Carolina upgraded wake restrictions this spring. Although I have not seen DNR enforcement, the difference in boat operation has been very helpful. No small surprise to me, peer pressure does make a difference.. not perfect, but the situation is way better than previous years. Maybe protests against irresponsible behavior have more impact if back by law? To be fair, I suspect the current cost of fuel for the monster boat gas hogs has an impact too (those beasts are up to 26 feet long now). sincerely hope the improvement we've seen here is long-term.

I strongly support other States following in the footsteps of those that have upgraded operating restrictions. Voluntary or good sense does not get the job done in wake mitigation or highway speed control.
 
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Potomacbassin’

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The fact that the fun hater's antiwakeboat arguments pivot from shore erosion to nuisance to lake bottom erosion to wildlife wreaks of desperation. Heck they will next argue that they are the cause of erectile dysfunction.

There is data that directly supports boat wake activity elevating turbidity in the water. The study I read used water data in a nearby bay in the Potomac River, and over the course of the year the highest turbidity readings came on holidays and weekends - typically the days with highest levels of recreational boating. This suggests boat waves can stir up the bottom or wash shorelines more than your typical wind waves. Some of the boats in the river put out both very tall waves and long periods which might explain the difference with wind driven waves.

But to your point, energy is energy. The Mississippi R. has been changing it's shoreline for millions of years without the aid of boats, and mother nature will eventually take what is hers. I think you're spot on that the interests of landowners is driving the regulations over wake boat owners. They're a pretty powerful lobby.
 

Bill N

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Thanks, you said it better than I did!
I agree that a boat wake has more energy than a wind wave. But one has to realize that a boat wake presence is a short duration where wind waves duration are present for a much higher percentage of time.

At the end of the day, we need to agree that we have to share the waters and show respect to other users as well as adjacent landowners. An unwillingness to compromise (from either side) is what I find disgusting. We (snowmobilers) have had the same fight against fun haters for decades.
 

PartyBarge

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.... But one has to realize that a boat wake presence is a short duration where wind waves duration are present for a much higher percentage of time....
NOT correct here! On summer weekends/holidays, excessive wave action is of all day duration. Storms are rare compared to that. Wake boats up to 8000+ pounds generate waves that travel way more than a 1/4 mile and sometimes are additive to other monster boat wakes. That wave situation commonly makes large portions of this 18,000 acre lake dangerous for swimmers and smaller boats before even mentioning obvious destruction. (Undercut trees are very common most places unless the shoreline is armored with seawalls or riprap.)

The new wake regulations here are reasonable and seem to have improved safety with reduced general shoreline and other property damage. As long as that lasts, additional restrictions should not be needed.
 

BigD

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I know Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia had all but got thru to the final stages of an enforced wake boating restriction, but, in that final stage, it got shot down by Va. because of the precedent it was setting. A lot were for it, but in the end, those opposed far out numbered those in favor of such restrictions.
 

jcr159

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I’ll reiterate…. I see both sides, and hope there’s a way to compromise.

My lake(s) are 90% no wake for the same reasons…. Erosion control. They are a series of lakes that are part of a reservoir.

There are 2 sections designated to full speed operation, but the usage varies through the day. Certain hours reserved for water sports, speeding, sailing, etc. this gives everyone time, and helps. I always thought of it as nice from the standpoint that exclusive use for water sports is nice because it’s less yahoos to watch out for, but it does a good job limiting the damage as well. Not many wake boats loaded down with ballast going out during the speeding times. No point other than wasting a lot of fuel. If they are cruising, they dump the extra weight first…
 

Potomacbassin’

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There will always be more toys that come out - ever see those enclosed jetski's that can submerge like a submarine? Electric-powered personal hydrofoils? 20 years from now people may have their own self-driving boats that use electric rotors and ground effect. How about E hovercrafts?

Lake associations and local government will be facing lots of questions as technology and materials sciences evolves so a good framework that guides these decisions important so all stakeholders know what to expect.
 

Bill N

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Governing bodies realize that the moment they enact a law that might be viewed as 'too restrictive', the owners of these quarter million toys will have their lawyers preparing to have this tied up in courts for years.
 
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