For Immediate Release
Contacts: Lake Wylie Marine Commission
Peter Hegarty – 704-533-4603
A record number of concerned citizens turned out Monday evening at the Lake Wylie Marine Commission’s monthly meeting to weigh in on issues of wake boat use and the impact on shoreline property and docks.
Public comments were received from active wake surfing and boarding enthusiasts as well as lakefront property owners who have sustained costly damage from the high wakes generated by these boats and other watercraft.
Through a civil and respectful exchange of ideas, several key points addressed how best to ensure that boaters have recreational use of public waterways while accepting responsibility for their watercraft’s speed, wakes, and noise that impact property owners on shore.
Everyone agreed that boater education will be paramount in curbing many aspects of the problem – knowing and obeying state laws governing no-wake zones is the first step. In North Carolina, no-wake zones extend 50 yards from docks; in South Carolina, they extend 50 feet from docks. Property owners noted that these limits are frequently disregarded, particularly in South Carolina.
Wake surfing advocates said they avoid the main channel and prefer boating in the creeks in areas where they can remain outside the no-wake zones as the laws allow. They are well aware of these limits and are considerate of docks and shorelines. They also acknowledge there are wake surfing boaters who don’t know the limits or choose to ignore them. Self-policing among wake boaters they believe is necessary. Increased instances of violations of the law and additional property damage by irresponsible boaters could result in changes to state laws.
Though there was no suggestion to change any existing regulation or invoke wake-surfing ban as has been done in other states, the consensus reached is that the best way forward is to educate and communicate responsible wake boating guidelines. The Water Sports Industry Associations has a mission to do just that.
WSIA representative Matt Santomenna offered his good offices to promulgate the three basics to Wake Responsibly:
- Stay 150 feet away from the shoreline, docks, or other structures
- Keep music at reasonable levels
- Minimize repetitive passes on any portion of shoreline.
The WSIA tag line: Remember, you are responsible for your wake.
Self-policing the sport by those who enjoy it is the order of the day for now. The Lake Wylie Marine Commission will partner with WSIA to communicate these simple guidelines to those who enjoy this ever-growing sport.