There are US court cases which have held that one is responsible for damages and injuries caused by your wake, even if the damage occurs a very long distance away from the wake causing craft. The wake is considered an extension of the vessel and being hit by such is considered a collision
, no different than colliding with a hull
to which the Colregs apply. You are to give way and slow whenever you wake can cause dangers.
Indeed some boats are purposefully built to cause wakes so as to provide for wakeboarding and wakesurfing.
Inconsiderateness and ignorance runs abundant, and sadly both seem to be even more abundant among boaters.
Two summers ago, the local duckboat like recreational excursion company, chose to enter the water using the boat ramp
inside the marina my boat is kept at. The boat is called The Happy Hippo. It is the tradition of the charter
business to enter the water with considerable velocity so as to cause a huge splash over the bow and onto the front occupants and which also causes a large forward displacement
surge. There is a public ramp
which typically does not have docked boats anywhere nearby about a mile further down from our marina. At this time, the charter
was taking groups of people from a large wedding celebration party at a beautiful public waterfront park to the marina for a quick trip back to the park and it made for a much quicker round trip to enter the water at the nearer marina instead of continuing down to the public ramp. The charter operator drove down the marina's boat ramp in their normal high velocity, thrilling and fun splashing manner twice before I stopped him on his way out of the marina and told him to never use the marina as an entry point again, or to at least enter the water with the amphibious craft in a gentle manner so as to not derive a displacement
wake. The surge that amphibious craft induced was massive, pushing water about six inches higher than the docks and rocking the boats greatly. The operator apologized when I explained to her the effect of her actions inside the marina and she did not return. The passengers were taken aback by my expression of anger and the tongue lashing that I communicated as the boat they were on passed within a few feet of my beam when I was tied in my slip. The encounter kind of took the fun out the otherwise fun trip and their return to the large outdoor wedding celebration. The operator had just not thought through the consequences of their actions and was just doing the normal enjoyable things that they do to provide pleasure to their passengers.
What is acceptable in operating a vessel in one place is inappropriate in another. And the problem with wakes is that they don't really diminish much as the progress across the waters. Damage and danger
continues at a distance, an unseen distance is common.