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• Increase the 200 ft safety zone from shore to 500 ft for large
wake producing activities.
• Enjoy wake sports only in water depths greater than 20 ft
• Work with the industry to create a solution for invasive species
transport in ballast tanks on inland waters.
What is a wake boat?
Wake boat (also known as wake surf boat, ballasted boat) is
defined as any boat that is equipped with ballast tanks, ballast
bags, compartments, containers, or similar devices or mechanical
systems designed to alter or enhance the characteristics of the
boat’s wake. This definition may only be applicable when such
devices are being utilized to alter the wake. NASBLA 2021
Wake boats are specialized boats designed to create large wakes
for the purpose of wake surfing.​
Wake surfing means free riding or pulled by a rope or line on a
device similar to a surfboard behind an artificially ballasted boat at
slow speeds (9—14 mph).
Deep Propeller Wash
Enhanced Wake Large, Inaccessible, Ballast Tanks
Operating wake boats close to shore:
• Causes shore erosion and near
shore turbidity
• Causes damage to infrastructure
• Jeopardizes boating & swimming
safety
• Disrupts underwater plant habitat
• Disrupts loon nests &
other shoreline wildlife habitat
Operating wake boats in shallow water:
• Resuspends sediments &
nutrients: increasing chance of nuisance
algae blooms
• Disrupts lake bottom ecology: impacts
on fish, insects, and other organisms
• Uproots & shreds aquatic invasive
species (AIS), with fragmentation
leading to AIS spread elsewhere
Wake boats’ ballast tanks cannot
be:
• Completely emptied
• Inspected
• Effectively decontaminated
The risk of lake-to-lake transfer of
new invasive species like Eurasian
milfoil and spiny water flea is
significantly increased
Lake bottom
Bigger wakes take longer to dissipate Downward directed engines stir up
bottom sediments
Ballast tanks are difficult to decontaminate
Wake boats are different than other boats.
Safety of other lake users
Increased algae blooms from nutrient resuspension
shoreline bank
erosion and property
damage
shoreline
habitat
destruction
(loon nest raft)
Damage to shorelines
economic costs of
• decreased water quality resulting in
decreased property values with loss of tax
revenue
• loss of tourism due to adverse environmental
impacts, e.g. cloudy water, algae blooms
• introducing new and spreading of existing AIS
• shoreline property and structural damage
Adverse impacts
of wake boats
Wake boat
Ballast tanks
cannot be
checked for
AIS
• To allow for safe, shared use of lakes and ponds
with all users.
• For the ecological protection of water bodies &
wildlife
• To maintain strong tourism industry, property
values & property tax base
Why manage wake boats?
The current use of unmanaged wake boats is inconsistent with ME statute:
Title 38 (Waters and Navigation), Chapter 20 (Protection of Maine Lakes)
Large wake producing sports conflict
with Maine Statutes
§1841. Declaration of policy
Maine's great ponds are an important element of the State's economy and traditional way of life. Their abundance and relatively high water
quality are precious resources in light of the growing inadequacy of water supplies and the deterioration of natural settings and habitat in many
other states. The use of great ponds as a source for drinking water, recreation and power production is vital to the State. [PL 1991, c. 838, §26
(NEW).]
To protect the public trust, the State's great ponds must be protected from degradation. They must be managed according to watershed
boundaries, while a diversity of lake setting types within each region of the State is maintained. Potable water from the State's great ponds should
require minimal treatment. [PL 1991, c. 838, §26 (NEW).]
A primary goal of the protection of the State's great ponds is to ensure that consistent land use management policies and regulations are applied
throughout the direct watershed of each great pond. [PL 1991, c. 838, §26 (NEW).]
The State's goals in managing the surface uses of great ponds are to avoid or minimize conflicts among recreational users, energy producers,
shoreland owners and other users; maintain traditional water-dependent businesses; and ensure that the intensity of use allowed on a great pond
is in keeping with its capacity to accommodate that use. [PL 1991, c. 838, §26 (NEW).]

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MBIC Story Book

  • 1. 1 Click through to learn more... • Increase the 200 ft safety zone from shore to 500 ft for large wake producing activities. • Enjoy wake sports only in water depths greater than 20 ft • Work with the industry to create a solution for invasive species transport in ballast tanks on inland waters.
  • 2. What is a wake boat? Wake boat (also known as wake surf boat, ballasted boat) is defined as any boat that is equipped with ballast tanks, ballast bags, compartments, containers, or similar devices or mechanical systems designed to alter or enhance the characteristics of the boat’s wake. This definition may only be applicable when such devices are being utilized to alter the wake. NASBLA 2021 Wake boats are specialized boats designed to create large wakes for the purpose of wake surfing.​ Wake surfing means free riding or pulled by a rope or line on a device similar to a surfboard behind an artificially ballasted boat at slow speeds (9—14 mph).
  • 3. Deep Propeller Wash Enhanced Wake Large, Inaccessible, Ballast Tanks Operating wake boats close to shore: • Causes shore erosion and near shore turbidity • Causes damage to infrastructure • Jeopardizes boating & swimming safety • Disrupts underwater plant habitat • Disrupts loon nests & other shoreline wildlife habitat Operating wake boats in shallow water: • Resuspends sediments & nutrients: increasing chance of nuisance algae blooms • Disrupts lake bottom ecology: impacts on fish, insects, and other organisms • Uproots & shreds aquatic invasive species (AIS), with fragmentation leading to AIS spread elsewhere Wake boats’ ballast tanks cannot be: • Completely emptied • Inspected • Effectively decontaminated The risk of lake-to-lake transfer of new invasive species like Eurasian milfoil and spiny water flea is significantly increased Lake bottom Bigger wakes take longer to dissipate Downward directed engines stir up bottom sediments Ballast tanks are difficult to decontaminate Wake boats are different than other boats.
  • 4. Safety of other lake users Increased algae blooms from nutrient resuspension shoreline bank erosion and property damage shoreline habitat destruction (loon nest raft) Damage to shorelines economic costs of • decreased water quality resulting in decreased property values with loss of tax revenue • loss of tourism due to adverse environmental impacts, e.g. cloudy water, algae blooms • introducing new and spreading of existing AIS • shoreline property and structural damage Adverse impacts of wake boats Wake boat Ballast tanks cannot be checked for AIS
  • 5. • To allow for safe, shared use of lakes and ponds with all users. • For the ecological protection of water bodies & wildlife • To maintain strong tourism industry, property values & property tax base Why manage wake boats?
  • 6. The current use of unmanaged wake boats is inconsistent with ME statute: Title 38 (Waters and Navigation), Chapter 20 (Protection of Maine Lakes) Large wake producing sports conflict with Maine Statutes §1841. Declaration of policy Maine's great ponds are an important element of the State's economy and traditional way of life. Their abundance and relatively high water quality are precious resources in light of the growing inadequacy of water supplies and the deterioration of natural settings and habitat in many other states. The use of great ponds as a source for drinking water, recreation and power production is vital to the State. [PL 1991, c. 838, §26 (NEW).] To protect the public trust, the State's great ponds must be protected from degradation. They must be managed according to watershed boundaries, while a diversity of lake setting types within each region of the State is maintained. Potable water from the State's great ponds should require minimal treatment. [PL 1991, c. 838, §26 (NEW).] A primary goal of the protection of the State's great ponds is to ensure that consistent land use management policies and regulations are applied throughout the direct watershed of each great pond. [PL 1991, c. 838, §26 (NEW).] The State's goals in managing the surface uses of great ponds are to avoid or minimize conflicts among recreational users, energy producers, shoreland owners and other users; maintain traditional water-dependent businesses; and ensure that the intensity of use allowed on a great pond is in keeping with its capacity to accommodate that use. [PL 1991, c. 838, §26 (NEW).]
  • 7. MBIC recommendations: •Increase the 200 ft safety zone from shore to 500 ft for large wake-producing activities​ •Enjoy wake sports only in water depths greater than 20 ft​ •Work with the industry to eliminate the potential for invasive species transport in ballast tanks on inland waters.
  • 8. • Peer-reviewed research from hydrodynamic specialists at the University of Minnesota1 has shown that wake surfing waves take more than 500 feet to dissipate to levels similar to those created by waterski boats. • Waves from wake surfing are 2-2.5 times larger than conventional waterskiing waves & have 5-9 times the peak power. • Wake surfing in shallow areas near the shore can result in sediment and nutrient resuspension, dramatic declines in water clarity from increased turbidity and more food for algae. Why isn't the 200 ft safety zone enough? 1: https://conservancy.umn.edu/handle/11299/226190 Safety Habitat degradation Shoreline erosion turbulence
  • 9. • Wake boats with heavy stern ballast tanks “plow” through the water with their bow up. • Downward-directed propeller wash can disturb lake bottoms and: • Stir-up bottom sediments creating turbidity, disrupting habitat, and releasing nutrients contributing to toxic algae blooms • Shred & uproot plants spreading aquatic invasive species, e.g. Eurasian milfoil Why deeper than 20 feet?
  • 10. Ballast Tanks are difficult to (or impossible) to empty or inspect, they can transport invasives. Zebra mussel—larvae This tiny larval mussel can start an infestation. It outcompetes native species for plankton nutrients, clogs underwater intake pipes & damages boat motors. Eurasian watermilfoil fragment All it takes is a small fragment to create a new infestation! Spiny water flea This tiny AIS alters aquatic food web dynamics via competition with small fish for zooplankton (& fouls fishing lines). Why are wake boat ballast tanks a risk for transporting aquatic invasive species (AIS)?
  • 11. What are other states doing Alabama Passed a bill in 2022 banning wake surfing activites on water bodies that are deemed too small based on width or size; and within a certain distance of any shoreline... Indiana (HB1098) Defines wakeboarding and wake surfing; prohibits night wake boarding/wake surfing; establishes process for lakes to petition NRC for restrictions and includes safety requirements for the watercraft. New Hampshire HB 229 – “Wake boat" means any boat that is equipped with ballast tanks, bags, compartments, containers, plumbing, or similar devices or systems that are designed to alter or enhance the characteristics of the boat's wake, and is also known as a "ballast boat." HB 115 – Requires wake surfers to wear life jackets, bans nighttime wake surfing, and requires the tow boat to be designed by the manufacturer for wake surfing. Groups attempted to increase 100ft safety zone. Oregon HB 2555 and HB 2725 – Provides that maximum loading weight of motorboat must be less than 4,000 pounds to obtain towed watersports motorboat certificate. HB 2734 – Directs State Marine Board to study and make recommendations for legislation to impose excise tax on wake boat sales. SB 1589 - Bans wake surfing on the 29 mile Newberg Pool stretch of the Willamette River Virginia H.2083 – Prohibits a person within 200 feet of a dock, pier, boathouse, boat ramp, shoreline, or other person in the water from operating a vessel on any inland lake that is more than 500 feet above sea level and of 20,000 acres or more in size, and wholly located within the Commonwealth (Smith Mountain Lake), while accompanied by a person or persons engaged in wake surfing. Vermont: Rule change currently proposed to prohibit wake sports within 1000 feet of the shoreline and in waters shallower than 20 feet. It will also limit wake surfing to larger lakes. Examples:
  • 12. • By creating new rules, we can ensure the shared used of Maine inland waters for all. • Our goal is not to ban wake boats or wake surfing. We need your support to create sensible rules to protect lakes, habitat, wildlife, and people. To reach the MBIC committee, send an email to MBIC.Maine@gmail.com

Editor's Notes

  1. Per Mark Milazzo: When wake boats are on a lake they monopolize it at the expense of all other users.