Video about wake boats

This video was recently released by a new Wisconsin organization called the Last Wilderness Alliance. The video is available on YouTube and is only about six and a half minutes long.

Wake Surfing – A Threat to Our Lakes

New wake bill proposed in Wisconsin

A bill has been proposed in Wisconsin to regulate wake surfing and wake boarding but it fails to provide any meaningful protection against the activities’ impacts. According to Wisconsin Lakes, who wrote this message, they are pleased to see this issue being addressed but the bill falls far short of what is needed and even makes things worse by undercutting local efforts to manage impacts to lakes and streams. Rather than setting minimum levels or protection for Wisconsin, the bill as written would actually limit the regulation of wake sports.

According to the organization, Wisconsin Lakes, the bill as currently written fails on several grounds:

  • Despite setting standards, the bill fails to protect private property, public safety and enjoyment, and aquatic environments by allowing local governments to set their own weaker standards. Rather than set minimum standards for protection the bill sets maximum standards allowed to regulate wake sports. Wisconsin’s local governments deserve local control to set their own standards for protection beyond state minimums.
  • The bill prohibits wake surfing and wakeboarding within 200 feet of the shore or structures like piers and swim rafts. The overwhelming majority of studies say that at least 500 feet is required for these “enhanced wakes” to lose their size and power. The minimum standard for Wisconsin should prohibit enhanced wake creation within 500 feet of the shore.
  • Current studies are showing that impacts from the creation of enhanced wakes are seen to lakebeds to depths of at least 20 feet. Lakes across Wisconsin are seeing pollutants in the lakebed kicked up into the water column and aquatic vegetation being scoured. The bill fails to include a standard related to depth. The minimum standard for Wisconsin should prohibit enhanced wake creation in waters shallower than at least 30 feet.
  • The bill simply repeats standards already in place in other statutes. For instance, it prohibits wake sports on lakes of 50 acres or less, but all boats are prohibited from creating wakes on most lakes that are of that size in Wisconsin already.

Read Wisconsin Lakes’ policy recommendations regarding enhanced wakes

Want to learn more about wake boats?

The Michigan Chapter, North American Lake Management Society is holding its next in-person Lunch and Learn event on Friday, December 1, 2023 at Brody Hall on MSU’s campus.  The topic will be on wake boats, with guest speakers, Joe Nohner,  Inland Lakes Habitat Analyst & Midwest Glacial Lakes Partnership Coordinator, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Nicki Polan, Executive Director, Michigan Boating Industries Association; Ethan Hellier, Midwest Government Affairs Manager, Water Sports Industry Association and Jesse McArdell, Policy and Engagement Manager, National Marine Manufacturers Association to talk about their perspectives on wake boats on inland lakes.

Register here for this in-person event on Friday, December 1, 2023 from 11AM to 2PM EST.

Cost to attend which includes lunch is $30. Seating capacity is limited to 80.

Registration deadline is Monday, November 20, 2023.

For more information, contact: Lois Wolfson.

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