Economic Analysis Released

Citing $93 Million Annual Benefit To Regulating Wake Sports

Montpelier, Vermont, February 2, 2023 – Responsible Wakes for Vermont Lakes (RWVL) petitioned Vermont’s Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) in March 2022 to manage wake sports on Vermont inland lakes to limit the growing adverse impacts caused by wake sports’ artificially large wakes. RWVL has provided the ANR with an economic impact analysis demonstrating the benefits ($93 million) to Vermont’s government, businesses, and citizens from their rule change to manage wake sports outweigh the costs ($8 million) by more than 10 to 1.

The economic analysis quantifies RWVL’s concerns regarding the damaging environmental, health, and economic impacts of wake boats and wake sports. Evidence shows that the giant 2-to-4-foot waves created for wake surfing abuse the lakes and ponds that Vermonters and visitors enjoy. These powerful waves can negatively impact fragile lake ecosystems, disrupt fish habitats and wildlife, destroy loon nests, erode shorelines, and cause property damage. Large wakes also create public safety issues and can drive other boaters, paddlers, sailors, anglers, and swimmers off the water.

When operated in shallow water, the wake boat’s deep-draft, downward-directed propellors scour the lake bottom, kicking up phosphorus and other nutrients that degrade water quality and contribute to harmful cyanobacteria algal blooms. The boats’ ballast compartments, necessary to weigh down the stern for wake sports, cannot be inspected, completely drained, cleaned, or dried and can contribute to the lake-to-lake spread of aquatic invasive species. Rules protecting Vermont’s water quality are in the best interest of Vermonters, Vermont’s economy, property owners, and the public who enjoy and benefit from clean water resources.

The RWVL petition addresses these concerns by proposing changes to Vermont’s Use of Public Water Rules. The petition’s proposed rule requires that wake sports only take place in water that is far enough from shore and deep enough to mitigate the enhanced wake’s impact: 1) at greater than 1000 feet from shore; 2) in water greater than 20 feet deep; and 3) in “Wake Sport Zones” that satisfy 1) and 2) and have a minimum of 60 contiguous acres. The proposed rule only applies to Vermont’s inland lakes and does not apply to wakeboarding, waterskiing, or tubing behind conventional motorboats not modified with wake-enhancing features.

Implementing a statewide rule to regulate wake boats and wake sports in Vermont will benefit the state’s economy, reinforce Vermont’s longstanding commitment to preserving water quality, safeguard traditional lake uses, and support the ANR’s responsibility to steward Vermont’s natural resources for this and future generations.

RWVL’s Economic Impact Analysis, the proposed rule change, and the scientific basis for the changes are available on RWVL’s website ( or by writing to

Responsible Wakes for Vermont Lakes, formed in March 2021, includes a diverse group of citizens across Vermont engaged in efforts to conserve and manage the resources of Vermont’s lakes and ponds. We are active users of Vermont’s public waters as boaters, water skiers, paddlers, sailors, anglers, and swimmers. We are volunteers monitoring water quality, invasive species patrollers, conservationists, educators, and scientists involved in maintaining and improving Vermont’s lakes ecosystems and for recreational and aesthetic enjoyment for current and future generations.

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