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Old 17-05-2007, 10:29   #1
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no wake/low wake zones

Just wanted to share with the group what one of the wonderful City of Green Bay committee's brought to the city council for consideration of changing the no wake ordinance to become a low wake ordinance, allowing boat speeds to increase to 25 mph or no larger than a 2' wake.

the Fox River, which cuts through the city of Green Bay is a narrow, 24' deep channel, used by great lakes ships (so it's a federal waterway) . The intention was driven by motorboaters who had a series of no wake zones. Their contention is that it takes way too long from the mouth of the Bay of Green Bay to motor down to several establishments (bars, restaurants and a new marina down the river to the locks that eventually feed to Lake Winnebago). Even from the mouth of the river to the bar/restaurants it's a 45-60 minute slow boat ride.

Anyone hear of cities trying changing ordinances such as the no wake to low wake? We arrived in force at the council meeting objecting and our voices were heard (it went back to committee) but it's not over yet!

Issues from safety, floating docks at the marinas, currents, potential injury, property damage etc are only some of the major points hit upon. Would enjoy hearing others viewpoints.
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Old 17-05-2007, 15:47   #2
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"Anyone hear of cities trying changing ordinances"
Well, yeah, cities make and revise ordinances all the time.

You might have a discussion with the local marine patrols (USCG or city, whoever is there) and then ask them to come to the next meeting. Since most laws will still hold boaters responsible for their wake DAMAGE, if more damage is a likely consequence of the law, then the guys who will be busier than all getout trying to respond to complaints, just might be able to show up in uniform and explain to the city fathers why this would be a very bad idea.
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Old 17-05-2007, 16:01   #3
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Quote:
Anyone hear of cities trying changing ordinances such as the no wake to low wake?
Not really here in VA the state must approve the no wake zones. We have a problem locally where the county designated no wake zones but they never were approved by the state.

Personally I don't feel the need for "Low Wake Zones". No wake zones are for erosion protection or for safety. If it does not require a no wake zone then a low wake zone is not required at all. The back door way of relaxing the rules seems pretty stupid.

States can preclude the rules of a city. If you check out the FL Anchorage threads it is perhaps a better (worse really) example of poor state management. When local politics becomes transportation policy I think you see what we get. Boat rules should be just like driving rules. Clearly designed with a purpose and uniformly applied.
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Old 17-05-2007, 16:16   #4
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So how do you (and your legislators, if differently) definine of “no wake”?

Is it:
  • At a speed where no wake is caused …
  • At a speed where the wake is limited to (insert height) …
  • At a minimum (idle ?) speed which allows steerage…
  • Off plane …
  • Other …
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Old 17-05-2007, 17:51   #5
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I think Gord makes a good point here. Sad to hear about this new loosening of the no wake zone in Green Bay. I have often struggled with the "no wake" definition myself.

I can plane along in my ~300lbs displacement inflatible (me, boat and outboard) leaving less wake than a launch going from the yacht club to the mooring field. No boats rock and there is little disturbance to the water's surface. YET... the authorities have waved at me to get off plan before. As I get off plane, I go semi displacement, creating a huge wake. Never quite followed that one...

Some areas say "no wake" and 5MPH speed limit. This makes a lot more sense, since it is well defined.
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Old 17-05-2007, 18:20   #6
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"no wake" and 5MPH speed limit."

Is that 5mph through the water or over land? Just being a smart aleck. It does give you some idea of what "no wake" should be.

Hull shape and displacement are huge factors.

Here we are located on a very busy shipping channel and it is tidal with up to 3 meters of change. When the tide is going out the big ships have to rip along to make steerage through the water. At least that's their story.

We had a main sheet traveller fail ON THE MOORING due to the rock and roll of the wakes. The good news was it failed on the buoy. The bad news is the boats get the crap beat out of them 24 X 7. Now we tie down the boom.

Good luck with your City Council. I agree with hellosailor about showing the city what it will co$t them. If there is an increased potential for damage, you should request a study. If it gets past the study you should request 24 X 7 patrols to monitor the passing boat's speed and any damage they cause.

You should not have to patrol yourself and you have a right to know who damages your boat. You shoud also get an opinion that states that if the city can't patrol and there is an increase in boat damge than the city can be held liable for increased damage caused from wakes.

Throw the complexities, responsibilities, red tape and costs right back on the city. I can't see the city taking on any increased responsibility, cost or liability because some folks want a quicker run to the bar.

When dealing with bureaucrats, think like a bureaucrat.
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Old 17-05-2007, 19:44   #7
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A captain is liable for the damage done by his wake. It does not matter if it is any zone. Should a alrge boat cause a small boat to capsize or do damage there is a violation. Consider the No Wake Zone a speed zone as much as anything. The speed could be posted. Not a lot of complete standards however.

The Erie canal is a no wake zone the whole way (except a few lakes it includes). Made quite the fuss. It still is.
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Old 17-05-2007, 21:51   #8
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"If there is an increased potential for damage, you should request a study."
There you go! In most places you can wreak havoc by requiring an environmental impact study for any regulation, construction, legislation, etc. that may have an adverse environmental impact. Especially--if it may cause erosion on shores.

Warn 'em politely, and if they pass the change anyway, then you go to court to file an injunction blocking it until after they have the study completed. Which can be an expensive and embarrassing delay for them.
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Old 17-05-2007, 22:37   #9
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"A captain is liable for the damage done by his wake. It does not matter if it is any zone. "

I'll be sending my traveller bill to Evergreen - LOL

Maybe next time I'll get out in front of them tankers and hold up a stop sign - Ha.
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Old 17-05-2007, 22:58   #10
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Yeah!!

You could try and stop that big ship. Or put a torpedo into the guts of that big ship.

That'll stop them!!
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Old 18-05-2007, 00:17   #11
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Here is a link to the Fl laws on no wake and slow speed -
State Boating Law Summary

There is many cases where it is posted for only a few months a year and sometimes only on weekends and sometimes there is a NO WAKE posting and the small print says that you can go 30 mph in the channel.

I have had people complain about my "wake" when the waves was greater.
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Old 18-05-2007, 00:28   #12
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According to the Code of Federal Regulations [Title 15, Volume 3] PART 922.162 NATIONAL MARINE SANCTUARY PROGRAM REGULATIONS - DEFINITIONS:

Idle speed only/no-wake means a speed at which a boat is operated that is no greater than 4 knots or does not produce a wake.

The State of Virginia defines no wake as:
"no wake" speed as the operation of a motorboat or vessel at the slowest possible speed required to maintain steerage and headway.
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Old 21-05-2007, 07:32   #13
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no wake zones

I do enjoy this forum, it's nice to bounce thoughts off other friendly boaters!

Everyone's comments were greatly appreciated. Yeah it was amusing, I got into an "elevated discussion" with a motorboater who was supporting raising the no wake to Low wake ordinance, and I laughed at him when he kept on repeating "enforce it..enforce it." .. referrencing boaters monitoring, taking digital photos and reporting them. Ummmmmmmmm, I'm not going to babysit people who don't know the law, or how to operate a vessel in federal waterways. Kinda takes away the pleasure out pleasure boating if one is "babysitting". Interesting point, they put in verbage that the "no wake" will remain in effect 500' from any dock or marina.

The comments about having them do studies and research other communities who have experienced the same thing, is a very good idea. Not to mention, if the ordinance is proposed, that the city pony up responsibility of damage, erosion and god knows whatever else might happen if they open this up.
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Old 04-06-2007, 10:51   #14
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no wake zone update

just FYI

A few days before the committee meeting, I was invited aboard the GB police department boat, which has two 250 HP outboards (it looks like a coast guard boat!)

They took two trips, with City alderman on board and myself as well to show demonstrate what a wake and different speeds would do to the river.
After each trip cruising open at 25 mph (cause the police radar doesn't read in knots). LOL GPS showed we reached 25 mph though. All alderman realized it was a stupid suggestion.

At the Council meeting, myself with tons of opponents of making it a low wake vs no wake (existing policy). The committee opted to keep it at no wake. Going to vote this week at the city countil meeting!

kept it the way it was! safe!
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Old 04-06-2007, 15:00   #15
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This topic was talked about alot this past weekend. I have a cottage on Sturgeon lake which is part of the Trent Severn Waterway just below Fenlon Falls locks.(4 those of u around the world reading this, the TSW is a lock system in Canada traveling from Lake Ontario to Georgian Bay consisting of 44 locks 238 miles) This part of the TSW is very narrow with shale clifs and traffic is constant.

Many of us have bars either on our decks or the roofs of our boathouses. One of our favorite pastimes is watching boats, and girls go bye. (suckin back beers is manditory). I have seen crusiers from as far away as the BVI and many from Miami and the northern states over the years. The posted speedlimit is 10km or 6mph and for the most part the the really huge boats do much less so not to create a wake. The smaller boats figure 10 is the limit so 10 it is, no matter how large the wake. It really makes me mad after the guy goes by and looks back to see my whips flexin to the max tryin to keep the boat from hittin the dock.

We could yell at these guys all day long to no avail. My neighbours and I have to deal with erosion not only from boats but the freeze and thaw in winter time. Does anyone have a practical legal idea to get them to slow down? (cops won't hand out tickets unless they r speedin) We have considered potato cannons, but they may be a little lethal. My neighbour and I purchased waterballoon launchers on Sunday but haven't set them up yet. This weekend its going to be war
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