Responsible Wakes for Vermont Lakes petitioned the Agency of Natural Resources in March of 2022 to amend the Vermont Use of Public Water Rules to regulate wake sports in a responsible manner. In response, the Department of Environmental Conservation drafted a rule, which is now working its way through the state rule-making process. The RWVL petition proposed this amendment:
Use of wake boats for wakeboarding and wakesurfing is permitted only in defined areas of water bodies (“wake sports zones”) where all the following conditions are met:
1) the distance from shore is greater than 1000 feet
2) the water depth is greater than 20 feet
3) the area of the water body satisfying 1) and 2) is more than 60 contiguous acres.
For water bodies where no such areas exist that satisfy all three conditions, vessels defined as wake boats are prohibited.
The proposed rule does not apply to use of a wakeboard behind a conventional vessel that has not been modified with wake-enhancing equipment.
This rule will effectively keep wake surfing off our smallest lakes, and on the larger lakes restrict the surfing to the deep water far from shore. The 54-page petition includes a rationale for the proposed amendment, scientific research to support it, and examples from Vermont lakes. You may download a copy here.
Opposition to the petition has come from wake surf boat owners and manufacturers. The National Marine Manufacturers Association sent to the DEC in July of 2022 a long commentary. Our response to this commentary rebuts their arguments.