Watch your wake

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Tom

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Some folks just don't understand that, just because they slow down, their boat wake does not necessarily get smaller. In fact, until they back all the way off the throttle, the boat is pushing a lot of water and their wake is actually bigger than if they stayed on plane. I took the attached two photos last week showing someone who either didn't understand this or who didn't care.

The first photo shows the boat passing between us and a small ferry with its bow to the levy. The ferry captain just couldn't believe this was happening.

The second ferry shows the same smart boater throwing a wake that almost capsized a small fishing boat.

In case you weren't aware, you're responsible for your boat's wake.
 

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Tom

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Ron said:
Where was the Coast Guard? ???

Ron, that's like asking where were the cops when someone was speeding. The nearest USCG station is at Rio Vista, about an hour away at their speed. The local Sheriff's department is pretty thin due to budget cuts.
 

Tom

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Well, I think the USCG has more important things to attend to, like search and rescue, homeland security, etc.
 

Tom

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You're right there Jim. All these folks have to do is look over their shoulder to see their wake and it would be very obvious. Looking over your shoulder should be as natural as looking in the rear view mirror while driving a car.
 

Jim Dick

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Tom,

When we had our boat I was constantly looking everywhere especially when traversing a channel. You never know when someone will try to overtake you or create a hazard involving you.
 

rvrrat

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Tom, just curious, where did that incident occur at? Also was there a posted speed limit or a sign posted no wake? Im out on the water constantly with my boat. In a posted no wake zone , I do exactly that! Sometimes we see people fishing in the middle of the lakes or in ski areas. They get upset when we go by with our rather large wake, but what can you do in that case??  On a crowded weekend, sometimes its a freeforall. In the case of your picture, the guy should have slowed down or if it was an open speed area the fishing boat should have been closer to shore (or anchored better). just my .02
 

Tom

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That was on the California Delta. There was no posted speed limit, but there are state and Federal regulations, not to mention common sense. The ferry incident is very clearly in violation of the regulation limiting speed to 5mph if you're within 200 feet of a boat at a dock (see below). As for the fishing boat situation, I took the photo from the bridge of our boat, so you can the difference in our respective wake, which means we slowed down. FWIW the photo shows only two of probably a dozen fishing boats either anchored or trolling in that particular slough.

It's all too easy to toss someone out of a small boat with your wake, especially if they're anchored. Had that fishing boat been anchored, the occupants could have ended up in the water. I've been in the situation of that fishing boat many times and it's just plain irresponsible on the part of the other boat operator. That day was a weekday and we took 3 hours to make what would normally be a 90 minute journey - because we slowed down for all the small fishing boats. Sometimes they're hidden behind a berm or some vegetation and they're not visible until it's too late to prevent a big wake, but these boats were all in plain sight.

As for being closer to shore, the respective boating regulations say that, as long as they're not blocking more than 75% of the navigable channel, they have the same right to be there that I or anyone else has.

The object of this discussion was merely to raise the awareness of boaters of the need to be conscious of their wake.

Excerpt from the California boating law:

655.2. Speed limit for vessels in certain areas. (a) Every owner, operator, or person in command of any vessel propelled by machinery is guilty of a misdemeanor who uses it, or permits it to be used, at a speed in excess of five miles per hour in any portion of the following areas not otherwise regulated by local rules and regulations:
(1) Within 100 feet of any person who is engaged in the act of bathing. A person engaged in the sport of water skiing shall not be considered as engaged in the act of bathing for the purposes of this section.
(2) Within 200 feet of any of the following:
(A) A beach frequented by bathers.
(B) A swimming float, diving platform, or lifeline.
(C) A way or landing float to which boats are made fast or which is being used for the embarkation or discharge of passengers.
(b) This section does not apply to vessels engaged in direct law enforcement activities which are displaying the lights prescribed by Section 652.5. Those vessels are also exempt from any locally imposed speed regulation adopted pursuant to Section 660.
 

DougJ

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Tom, I'm not a boater but have been following this thread out of curiosity and with interest.

I keep waiting for you to show one more pic: the pic showing the water skier behind the boat throwing up the big wake :).

Ciao,

Doug
 

Tom

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LOL Doug, I don't know if I have any waterskier photos. They don't normally ski behind big boats - pretty tough, but they can still throw a pretty good wake. It sure ticks me off when I'm fishing a quiet slough and the waterskiers start going up and down the slough. They, of course, have the same entitlement to use the waterway as I do, but they totally ignore their impact on others. The ski boat driver believes he has the right of way no matter what. It really gets interesting when we/re navigating a narrow bridge that has just opened for us, we're half way through, and some clown towing a skier decides he's going to do a chicken run. They really have no concept that 50,000 lbs of boat can't stop on a dime and, if their waterskier falls when they're playing one of these tricks, s/he's toast.
 

DougJ

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They really have no concept that 50,000 lbs of boat can't stop on a dime

I suspect they're lots of people with no concept of mass and momentum.

Doug
 

FX

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Good topic and one that frequently gets me upset.  My pontoon reacts violently to wakes, yet creates little to no wake even at full throttle....a whopping 21 1/2 mph!
Just like Tom said, it gets me furious when I'm anchored in some little spot all by myself and some boat comes speeding through at 50 mph.  All me and my buddy can do is wait for the waves to reach us then hold on.  If our poles are just leaning up against the side of the boat, then they go flying around, tackle boxes get knocked over, we have knocked over beers :'( ...it's just not nice.  Every once in awhile though we will get the curteous boater who will be zooming along towards us and then slow to 5 mph or so while he passes.  To all of you out there who slow down, "thanks"  for all you others, you can, ah, I better not say it - I don't want to get kicked off the forum.
And the part about going slow and big wakes is true in some cases also.  Our last time in Tahoe we were cruising along and this good size boat 30' or so, went by at probably 10 mph.  My brother in law and I actually though the boat was going to flip!  Not pretty
 

Tom

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FX,

I forgot about how the pontoon boat reacts to a wake - not pretty.

FX said:
....we have knocked over beers

That alone should make it an offense to go by throwing a big wake.
 

Ken K

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Actually Water Skiers  DON'T want a wake. Tournament ski boats are made to leave the smallest wake possible.  Skiers or boarders behind an I/O, driving around in circles, following the shoreline, power-turning to pick up a fallen rider, varying speed, sitting on the back of the seat looking back instead of forward, are a whole other story. Tom is absolutely correct, you are responsbile for your wake and too many people do not know how to drive a boat. There isn't even a test you have to take.

Wakeboarders (me included) want a huge wake. Driving a course (kinda dog-boned shaped), coming COMPLETELY down to idle when turning around to pick up a rider so you don't throw rollers all over the lake are your responsibility. It amazes me - these fast turn arounds by boaters and then they complain that the water is too rough! We really try to be polite, and if there are too many boats out, we can't ride anyway.

It's a shame that so many people have to fight for so little water. It's also a shame that people like the one's in the photo are just that stupid.


 

Ken K

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Tom- your boat is 50,000 lbs? That's a big dog! Our tournament wakeboard boat is 3k, maybe 4500 with gear, ballast and gas.

And you have to wonder, do they know that they are burning up the most fuel at that speed? 
 

Tom

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Ken K said:
There isn't even a test you have to take.

Ken, a test would seem to make a lot of sense. The dumbest thing was that, here in CA prior to a few years ago, there was no minimum age for a boat driver. The observer (for skiing) had to be 12 or older, but the dirver could be any age. They finally changed it.
 
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