Wake Surf Boats creating concern on our lake

AkBobAkBob Posts: 50 Baller
One surf boat became five surf boats and damage is beginning to show. We are seeing shore erosion, dock damage and waterfowl issues. I've maintained a waterski course on our public lake for 30 years and my neighbors tolerate it for the most part. The surf boats with multiple people on board and the music they share with the world is drawing ire. I'm not against surfing, but multiple passes close to shore is tearing things up. Jetskis are annoying, but less of an issue. Any suggestions on how to tactfully help surf boat owners modify their behavior? Skiers boats are either planing or at idle and our wakes are minimal by comparison


  • oldjeepoldjeep Posts: 3,889 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    What is legal distance from shore/docks in your state, and are the observing it? Here in MN they passed a surf specific law this year requiring 200 ft from shore/docks/etc
    Chuck P
    Not a mechanic but I play one at home
  • BraceMakerBraceMaker Posts: 5,211 Mega Baller
    This is a touchy point, having communicated with our lakes association they are all retired folks who love to fish and have quiet so "surf boat" and "ski boat" mean the same thing.

    I've been trying to get a facebook group going on our local lake for watersports enthusiasts to coordinate for boat crew (how many times do you go down to the dock alone on glassy days and wish someone could drive you) as well as to reach out to educate and advocate with the lakes associations for watersports.
  • AkBobAkBob Posts: 50 Baller
    The " legal distance" is 150ft. The legal distance is a bit academic because there are several large areas of the lake accessed by passing through areas that are not 300ft wide. Users will not slow to no wake speed to access those larger areas. The problem would be reduced if the surf boats used a greater portion of the lake. The homeowners association is trying to develop a flier or signage to educate users on wake etiquette, quiet hours etc. Educational language for all users is what we are we are looking for. I suppose you could be a jerk on a paddleboard and I wouldn't care. Surf boats or people wet testing their large ocean boats create tsunami size waves that create expensive damage are the target concern. We don't have government intervention on our lake......yet. I would like an educational approach first. If 5 wake boats turns into 10 our 400 or so residents will call in government and we may all suffer that intervention.
  • MinelickskierMinelickskier Posts: 82 Baller
    I know of at least two boats on our lake this summer that have taken on serious water from a surf boat’s wake. One had to be towed in and pretty much sank. If you have an open bow you better be careful if you have their wake coming your way...the first one over the bow is bad but the second one can debilitate your boat! They scare my wife when she is driving. I think they can be a danger.
  • vtmechengvtmecheng Posts: 963 Crazy Baller
    There are some big surf boats on Lake Anna. Two property owners near our place own the big Nautiques. My father had to completely redo his shoreline with reinforcements because of these boats. Sure, there's a law on distance from shore but with the size of these wakes it really isn't enough (when they do comply). The loud music is part of the annoyance but the wake is the primary concern for both shorelines and other boats. It's also hard for me to not view wake surfing as kind of a jerk thing since they make it so no one else within the area can enjoy the water. A ski boat throws almost no wake, similar to a fishing boat. The wake surfing boat is equivalent to driving around slowly, holding up a middle finger, yelling "I DO WHAT I WANT."

    In the end, laws and enforcement will likely not change with respect to wake surfing on lakes like Lake Anna. These people result in money to the lake and community because they bring lots of people and many are well off (those boats command big dollars). We have found in trying to push for stronger laws and better enforcement that the fear of not getting those dollars supersedes the concern for damage to shorelines and other boats.
  • ski6jonesski6jones Posts: 1,328 Mega Baller
    edited June 2020
    One thing to point out is that on public water you are responsible for damage caused by your wake. Not sure how to tactfully use this but it might be a useful bullet point.
    Carl Addington, Cedar Ridge, MS
  • NameUnavailableNameUnavailable Posts: 48 Baller
    What about on small lakes....do any ski lakes let these boats operate? Do you limit the size or weight?
  • oldjeepoldjeep Posts: 3,889 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    The " legal distance" is 150ft. The legal distance is a bit academic because there are several large areas of the lake accessed by passing through areas that are not 300ft wide.

    Well, there is your problem. If you are not enforcing it for everyone then you can't enforce it for anyone. Call the sheriff (or whatever your local enforcement is), ask if they will park a patrol boat in one of the areas that people are not observing and start handing out tickets.
    Chuck P
    Not a mechanic but I play one at home
  • jercranejercrane Posts: 391 Crazy Baller
    Like all things the problem here is not universal. I have a buddy on our public lake that is a very good wake boarder and surfs occasionally. He has one of these beasts. He is however incredibly respectful wrt his wakes. If he shows up in a cove and someone is skiing he goes to another cove. He does like to play music from his tower while he rides and I have given shit for this but in general he gets it. On the other hand I know of two families on the lake that let their teenage sons take out their Super Air Nautiques with a giant crew and partying. One of these dipshits actually thinks it's funny to swamp ski boats. He's also the same punk that likes to try and hit Loons with his boat. Then this gets back to the lake association and they start talking horsepower limits which effects all of us.

    The problem isn't necessarily the boats its the owners and people being a mixed bag in general. We have plenty of wide open expanses on the lake where these boats would be fine. If they were just respectful of shoreline proximity and other activities on the lake.

    Sadly too many of them like @vtmecheng said would rather ride around giving the rest of us the finger.

    On a related note if anyone in the Northern New England area ever has some money they want to throw into building a private ski site we have an abandoned gravel pit ready to go. Just struggling to find investors. :D
  • oldjeepoldjeep Posts: 3,889 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    know of at least two boats on our lake this summer that have taken on serious water from a surf boat’s wake. One had to be towed in and pretty much sank. If you have an open bow you better be careful if you have their wake coming your way...the first one over the bow is bad but the second one can debilitate your boat! They scare my wife when she is driving. I think they can be a danger.

    Same thing happens with big cruisers that are not on plane. If you are moored then you have an argument, if you are driving a boat with no freeboard in an area where boats like that operate then you need to know how to deal with it. Even with my VTX - which has more freeboard than a comp boat you have to watch for wakes of the big boys, and wake boats, (and tug boats if you are on the river).
    Chuck P
    Not a mechanic but I play one at home
  • LoopSkiLoopSki Posts: 983 Mega Baller
    I frickin hate these boats but more so the idiots that own them. Not saying they all are but..... luckily i dont have that problem at home but when we go Houseboating. You csn only try so much to avoid them , but they love to show off their useless skills
  • sixballsixball Posts: 280 Baller
    And the boats continue to get larger more ballast and louder sound systems.
  • jjackkrashjjackkrash Posts: 1,185 Mega Baller
    On the malibucrew.com they are gleefully talking about 30 foot twin screw cruisers to convert to surf boats. People are going to go bigger and bigger until it starts getting shut down I suspect.
  • oldjeepoldjeep Posts: 3,889 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    edited June 2020
    Gotta admit that Mastercraft 300 is a hell of a build ;)
    Chuck P
    Not a mechanic but I play one at home
  • sixballsixball Posts: 280 Baller
    Could be they will kill the sport on there very own. You can't keep this up in small lakes. I don't know if anybody that think 100' or 200' from shore makes a ton of difference. The water surge is still present just quieter. Suename don't travel over a ocean and dissipate nether do wakes. They change shape not strength.
  • jimskijimski Posts: 622 Crazy Baller
    edited June 2020
    It’s a world wide problem
    Stupid is as stupid does
    We have a 200 and a 210
    My wife likes to surf and take the friends out and listen to the tunes.
    We never going out in the morning always later in the afternoon I keep my distance from every one and every thing try and stay out in the middle of the lake.
    It’s a big public lake.
    I say I don’t own the lake
    But I sure show a hell of a lot of respect for every one else using it.
  • jjackkrashjjackkrash Posts: 1,185 Mega Baller
    Last year I was at a local public lake in my ski boat; the lake could maybe fit a slalom course in it, maybe, but it is that small. And then a big monster came out surfing in circles and I took two rollers over the bow doing everything I could to avoid them and almost sank trying to get back to the launch. I am all about freedom, but it is a problem finding a way to co-exist with something like that in a small lake.
  • pregompregom Posts: 355 Solid Baller
    A friend of mine got his boat basically sunk by a jerk with a wake surfing boat on a public lake...
  • SafewakeSafewake Posts: 1 New Baller
    Minnesota did not pass the Bill championed by the Boating Industry that would have required a minimum 200’ setback from shore if wake surfing. In fact, the Minnesota House refused to ever hold a Hearing on this Bill. As with folks in other States, Minnesotans know that 200’ does nothing to address the environmental, safety, damage to personal property and AIS concerns created by wake boats and wake surfing. I’d invite people to check out SafeWakes for Minnesota Lakes at SafeWakes.org.
  • UWSkierUWSkier Posts: 1,940 Mega Baller
    This is an extremely slippery slope. As much as I loathe surf waves crashing on the shore for hours a day and the sounds emanating from their tower speakers... once the do-gooders get an inch, they take a mile. Would hate to be the baby thrown out with the bath water. Next they'll be claiming that ski boat noises disturb the slumbering dung beetles who don't wake up until 10 am or something...
    boats are like girlfriends you love them however there is another one around the corner - bananaron, July 21, 2020
  • LOTWLOTW Posts: 247 Baller
    On our lake, the guys on the marine unit get it and if you call them, they will come and shut these guys down. Us skiers are generally an older and more respectful group with a good relationship with the police. Our course is in a small, undeveloped bay 10 minutes from town. Our lake does have a distance restriction from shore but since we're not bothering anyone, they look the other way. Most people like to watch us and would rather toss shit balls at the wakesurfers! They are creating they're own mess, they're not all bad either.
    We are lucky! So far.....
  • mmskiboatmmskiboat Posts: 155 Baller
    I do think that education is the biggest part. On our lake there are a couple of surf boats but they typically just go down the center of the lake and are not an issue. My concerns are more for the water fowl and shoreline as the waves damage nesting areas (well wipe them out) and erosion.

    I do think that some people just do not understand the damage that is happening, nor the effect this is having to everyone else on the lake in the cases mentioned above. I do agree it is a slippery slope as the difference between newer ski boats and surf boats are huge, to the average joe they are both boats with big motors and if your ski has a tower then even look alike. So any restriction could affect both.

    I think that long term lake association make need to look at breakwalls to manage the waves. I have looked for residential options more due to the weather at our dock and they do not exist. This could encourage surf boats more which is not ideal but could offer shoeline protection in sensitive areas.

  • liquid dliquid d Posts: 1,439 Mega Baller
    Get off my lawn! No matter how much you bitch, you need to fortify your docks and do what you can to minimize effects...of the pounding that is going to continue. These boat companies make way too much money from selling the monster wakeboats for this to stop. Bigger bumpers, tie lines, don't park sideways to open areas, protect shorelines (we need to come up with a better way? c'mon engineer types...)
    Learn how to drive better on the open water when you see a huge wake (it should NEVER swamp a ski boat). It may require some practice to try different techniques...
  • oldjeepoldjeep Posts: 3,889 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    edited July 2020
    @Safewake - I thought that it had passed?
    The standalone bill was added into broader bill

    Shows that it passed in May

    Text of bill

    Subd. 3. Distance from shore. On waters of this state, a person may not wake surf at
    greater than slow-no wake speed within 200 feet of a:
    (1) shoreline;
    (2) dock;
    (3) swimmer;
    (4) raft used for swimming or diving; or
    (5) moored, anchored, or nonmotorized watercraft.

    But is looks like the companion bill in house didn't have that in it. Looked at your website - pretty over the top.
    Chuck P
    Not a mechanic but I play one at home
  • unksskisunksskis Posts: 676 Crazy Baller
    Blame the manufacturers as much as you blame the users. Any legislation will dramatically impact the manufacturers as well, but they turn a blind eye.
  • oldjeepoldjeep Posts: 3,889 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    Well, the mfg are selling legal items that people want to buy.
    Chuck P
    Not a mechanic but I play one at home
  • DWDW Posts: 2,526 Mega Baller
    This very same thread appears on the websites visited by the surf crowd, the slant is everybody else is targeting them. Typically, they highlight the big cruisers as the most egregious violators of wake management and courtesy, and thus feel they are justified in their actions. Not saying right or wrong, just a reality of how people perceive the subject. In other words everybody is above average, thus any annoying activity is done by somebody else, and 'I' am always courteous.
  • WayneWayne Posts: 594 Crazy Baller
    Oh boy these issues are fun. We had this come up at a local lake that is run by and association. They brought it to the county board and because the county borders the lake I live on was dragged into the party.

    If you are in a position to do it I would recommend the following. Try to keep this within the lake users and lake front owners. Bring facts and studies, our local Nautique dealer brought in wave/erosion studies and spoke to the fact Nautique trains the dealers to train buyers on the safe operation and impacts of their wakes when doing boarding sports. This point resonated with the county board and I believe heavily influenced their impartial decision to stay out of the issue. Education is key, if you can have some type of public hearing with some protocols in place for moderating speakers (a virtual online meeting with a moderator might work with the current situation we are in) it could get some understanding in the disrespectful operators and some understanding from the people that want excessive restrictions.

    Most skiers fall in between the extremes and approaching a boat tearing up the water seems to give you a 50/50 shot at understanding versus conflict. I noticed this season has been better with the wake boats since our county meeting even though it seems they are out more now since so many people are working from home. They are keeping their distance from shore, giving other boats more space and being aware of ideal conditions for the slalom skiers and fishermen in the morning.
  • JustinJustin Posts: 82 Baller
    Devils advocate thinking, I am not convinced there would be all these new innovations or even a ski boat / direct drive boat market without the sale of all these big surf boats. It's a trickle down effect. I also question the erosion arguments, I've seen the damage 1 thunderstorm can have on shorelines, and it's much worse than a few boats travelling by at 11 mph on the lake I live on.
    But I 100% agree that there are guilty owners who have zero respect for neighbours and aren't willing to give any concessions because of their ''rights''.
Sign In or Register to comment.