by Melissa DeSimone, MLSA Executive Director

We saw the initial report last fall; it was released but then announced as a draft. After months of waiting, the report has been completely vetted by the full Michigan Department of Natural Resources and is ready for its official public debut. You can read the full report here. We found it to be even more comprehensive and useful than before.

The basic recommendations of the report are as follows:

  1. Boats operating in wake-surfing mode or wake-boarding mode, during which boat speed, wave shapers, and/or ballast are used to increase wave height, are recommended to operate at least 500 feet from docks or the shoreline, regardless of water depth.
  2. Boats operating in wake-surfing or wake-boarding modes are recommended to operate in water at least 15 feet deep.
  3. Ballast tanks should be completely drained prior to transporting the watercraft over land.

The recommended increase in distance from shore as well as the increased depth for operation during wake sports are crucial to the protection of our waterways. Concerns about boat wake damage to lakes and streams as well as safety issues for humans and wildlife have been mounting around the country as wake boats have gained popularity. Michigan Lakes and Streams Association has been working with other organizations from coast to coast that are seeing these issues. Limiting damage to shoreline and fishery habitats, eliminating the scouring of the bottomlands, and reducing the spread of invasive species are critically important to the preservation of our lakes and streams for future generations. We hope that boaters, lake residents, and policy makers will join us in further action based on the recommendations of MDNR Fisheries Division Report 37.

MLSA looks forward to working with stakeholders as well as government and agency officials of all levels to help preserve and protect our lakes and streams with common sense regulations. We appreciate the initiative and care of the Michigan DNR Fisheries Division in putting out this official report.

Link to the full report: https://mymlsa.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/Fisheries-Report-37-Wake-Boat-Study-Official-Version-Released-on-7.28.2023.pdf

Link to the email sent about the report: https://mailchi.mp/mymlsa.org/special-wake-boat-update-july2023

August 2023 Newsletter
Summer 2023 Issue of The Michigan Riparian