Vermont is not alone in recognizing that science, experience, and good sense provide a strong basis for requiring wake boats to operate significantly farther from shore than the 500 feet proposed in the DEC’s draft rule. As the examples below illustrate, counties, towns, and lake authorities in states around the country have restricted wake boats to distances from shore significantly greater than 500 feet. Some have banned wake surfing completely.
If you agree with our Responsible Wakes for Vermont Lakes citizen group that wake boats should not operate less than 1000 feet from shore, and you feel you have important things to say in support of RWVL’s recommendation, please sign up to comment at the DEC’s pre-rulemaking public meeting on February 15, 2023, in Greensboro at the Highland Center for the Arts. This will be a hybrid (in person and online) meeting, so if you cannot attend in person, you may comment virtually via Microsoft Teams. Either way, you must sign up now with DEC to speak.
Here are a few of numerous wake boat regulations from five states other than Vermont:
Bass Lake in Wisconsin keeps wake boats 700 feet from shore.
Eagle River, Vilas County, Wisconsin bans wake-surfing from the Eagle River: That portion of the Eagle River lying 700 ft. east of the Highway 45 bridge and west to the City limits on the Eagle River is designated as a slow-no-wake area.
The Town of Springwater, Wisconsin (Gilbert Lake) sets a no-wake-boat zone: No person shall operate a boat of any nature in excess of a slow- no- wake speed on these specific waters of Gilbert Lake which includes the portion of the eastern bay in Gilbert Lake that extends from the public landing located on 23rd Road- Section 14- to a demarcation line – running due north to south – at a distance of approximately 700 feet west of the shoreline.
Hayward, Wisconsin, mandates an offset of 700 feet.
Diamond Lake, Wisconsin, has issued a ban on Wake Surfing.
The Town of Norway, Wisconsin prohibits wake surfing. Wake-Surfing Prohibited No wake surfing shall be permitted (i.e., riding on surfboard or similar contrivance on wake of the boat without the control of a rope connected to a boat.)
The City of Mequon, Wisconsin, prohibits wake surfing: No person may operate a boat in an artificially bow-high manner, in order to increase or enhance the boat’s wake. Such prohibited operation shall include wake enhancement by use of ballast, mechanical hydrofoils, uneven loading or operation at transition speed. Transition speed means the speed at which the boat is operating at greater than slow-no-wake speed, but not fast enough so that the boat is on plane.
The lake towns in Sawyer County, Wisconsin, including 300 lakes, have voted by ordinance to keep wakesports at least 700 feet from shore.
Kootenai County, Idaho, has issued a complete ban of wake boats on the Spokane River:
· The Board finds that a no-excessive wake zone shall apply to the entirety of the Spokane River; and
· WHEREAS, the term “excessive wake” shall be defined as the wave resulting from continuous operation of a vessel:
· At the speed at which boats create the most wake, moving quickly and displacing the most water, i.e., plowing;
· In an artificially bow-high manner to increase or enhance a wake, including wake enhancement by use of ballast, mechanical hydrofoils, uneven loading; or
· To cause water to lap onto or over a dock, pier, or other lawfully permitted encroachment.
Wake surfing has been banned on a long section of the Willamette River, Oregon.
Seven Lakes, North Carolina, Bans Wake Surfing.
Cook County, Minnesota, approved a request to ban wake boats on Caribou Lake.
This article was corrected on January 26 to more accurately reflect the examples from Wisconsin and Idaho.