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Are You Responsible for Your Boat’s Wake? WSIA Wake Responsibly Recommendations Explained

Posted on: August 29, 2022

Wake boats and other speed boats are popular with people who love watersports, such as wakeboarding and wakesurfing. But boaters have to remember that they are responsible for their wake. It’s important to practice wake sports in a way that’s considerate to others using the lake, especially when it comes to safety. 

The Water Sports Industry Association’s (WSIA) Wake Responsibly campaign highlights three standard recommendations for wake safety. Let’s take a look at what they are and how they can keep the lake fun and safe for everyone to enjoy. 

Keep at least 200 feet from the shore & others

A 2015 study showed that 200 feet is the safest minimum distance to stay away to lessen the impact of your boat’s wake. Passing by any closer than this distance can pose a safety threat to nearby boaters and swimmers. Waves created by wakes are much less powerful after 200 feet, reducing the risk of other motor boats or watercraft (including SUP boards or kayaks) rocking and capsizing, passengers falling overboard, or swimmers being struck by unexpected waves. 

Another reason for the 200 feet rule is that the waves created by boat wakes can erode the shoreline. Over time, this can have a negative impact on private property, docks, beaches, and the lake’s natural habitat. Keeping your distance from the shore minimizes the effect your wake has on the surrounding area. 

Disobeying this recommendation isn’t just unsafe; it could also result in a fine if you’re caught being irresponsible with your wake. And if you cause damage to someone else’s property, they could sue you for the cost of repairs. 

Don’t make repetitive passes

In the same vein as the previous recommendation, avoid passing back and forth by one stretch of shoreline too many times in a row. Repeatedly waking in the same area churns the water too much, which can cause both environmental damage to the shoreline and property damage to docks and docked boats. 

It’s best to switch up the lines you run often, and return back to a stretch of water only after it’s had the chance to calm. 

The 2015 study also found that the wake is more powerful on the surfing side of the boat. It’s considered a best practice to surf on the side farthest from the shore, to further reduce your wake’s reach and impact on the lake.

Be mindful of your music volume

Waking responsibly doesn’t just mean being safe and protecting the environment; it also means being considerate. And being considerate applies to your sound waves, too. 

Play your music loud enough so you can hear it, but don’t crank it all the way up. If you can hear it 80 feet back from your boat, it’s likely playing loud and clear for everyone else nearby. 

Not everyone goes to the lake for watersports; some would rather relax and enjoy the peace and quiet of being at the lake. Play your music at a respectful volume so it’s not distracting for homeowners, swimmers, anglers, and other boaters, and so it doesn’t disturb nearby wildlife. 

Wake responsibly at Lake Bomoseen

As boating and watersports enthusiasts, we love the fun wakeboarding and wakesurfing brings to Lake Bomoseen. But we love nothing more than seeing everyone enjoy the lake, whether they’re kayaking, paddle boarding, fishing, swimming, or just taking in the sights and sounds of the Taconic Mountains. 

We hope that you’ll follow these three guidelines during your time at Lake Bomo to make your visit, and everyone else’s, more fun and safe! If you’re interested in brushing up on the guidelines, check out the WSIA’s Wake Responsibly Compliance Exam, a free, 11-question test on water sports etiquette. 

Need to rent a boat or water toys? Woodard Marine offers runabouts, pontoons, wakeboards, waterskis, kneeboards, and tubes. Check out our boat rentals!

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