Regulation Related to Hazardous Boat Wakes

Resolution of Oneida County Lakes and Rivers Association (OCLRA)

, Wisconsin’s inland lakes are among the state’s most critical natural resources and have incalculable aesthetic, environmental and economic value, and

WHEREAS, our lakes face a number of threats to water quality, ecosystem integrity and scenic values, and

WHEREAS, wakeboarding and wakesurfing behind ballasted boats designed to create large wakes represent arguably the fastest-growing motorized water sports, and

WHEREAS, boat manufacturers continue to build bigger and more powerful vessels designed to create larger wakes, and

WHEREAS, the adverse impacts of enhanced wakes especially from wakesurfing include:

  • Erosion of developed and natural shorelines
  • Hazards for people enjoying activities such as fishing, kayaking and paddleboarding
  • Damage to piers and moored boats
  • Transport of invasive species such as spiny water flea and zebra mussels from one lake to another, as ballast tanks cannot be completely emptied
  • Disturbance of wildlife habitat and potentially irreversible harm to aquatic ecosystems
  • Disturbance of lake bottoms and resuspension of phosphorus and sediment, as well as destruction of native aquatic plants and spreading of nuisance invasive plants, and

WHEREAS, current Wisconsin boating regulations do not account for the special concerns posed by enhanced wakes, and,

WHEREAS, boater education programs such as those offered by boat manufacturers and dealers can be helpful but are not sufficient,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that OCLRA supports responsible measures to mitigate the impact of hazardous wakes, to include appropriate regulation.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that OCLRA believes regulations must include limits on the size of lakes where enhanced wakes can be allowed, specified distances from shore and depths of water in which enhanced wakes are permissible, and measures to prevent and prohibit the inter-lake transfer of invasive species in boat ballast.

Adopted this 10th day of March 2023