Entering and Exiting: “The Zone”
Operators of boats (including Personal Watercraft) must observe the “Slow-No Wake Zone area with a maximum speed of 5 MPH within 150 feet of the shoreline, dock, float or other boat. This includes the area in front of your own docks, as well as, the docks of all lake residents. Leaving the shore with your throttle “wide open,” in the designated swim area may get attention from the observers, but it is not responsible boating and it is illegal. You don’t have a prop to chop off a swimmer’s arm, but you do have a bow to smack their skull! Please boat in deeper water at faster speeds to avoid getting too close to docks and swimmers.
Some residents have installed marker buoys to designate 150 feet/No Wake Zone “line.” This invisible “line” is for the safety of our swimmers within that 150-foot area extending out from our docks. Our buoys are NOT to be used as slalom markers. By doing so, you are entering the 5MPH speed zone and endangering lives. I have observed a young man on weekend mornings riding a red PWC driving erratically, using our swim buoys as a slalom! If this is you or your friend or family member, please stop now before you kill someone in our swim area!
The No Wake Zone must remain navigable. Other boats and swimmers are allowed to use any portion of the lake and you must not block their passage. However, swimmers, please keep in mind that it may be difficult for boats to see you. If you swim out past the 150 foot/no wake zone, you MUST be accompanied by a companion boat! While boating last Labor Day, we encountered a family swimming out past the no wake zone. Luckily we spotted them before getting too close. Remember, that when you are swimming, your head is the only part of your body that a boater sees and from a distance you may appear to resemble a buoy or something other than a swimmer. While swimming and you can see a boat approaching, may have a false sense of security thinking that they can see you equally as well also.
Buoy markers take relatively little area and are easily passed by boats. However, large anchored floating devises are in the way and not easily navigated around and prohibit passage by boaters. Remember that the lake is there for all to use…not just you.
We would also like to emphasize that there are areas between and around parts of the islands that are not 150 feet from shorelines and docks: therefore, some of these areas are considered a NO WAKE ZONE and the speed limit is 5 MPH. This, in part, means there should be no skiing, and no fast moving boats passing between the islands.
A wake is defined as the path of moving waves a boat leaves behind it. 1) A wake may endanger inexperienced swimmers and can rock, swamp or capsize other boats. 2) Wake may damage docked boats by thrusting them against their moorings. 3) Wake may effect the environment by causing shoreline erosion and sediment, making it uninviting for swimming, boating and fishing.
Remember, you are responsible for your wake and the damage to docks and floats, or personal injury it causes. According to Washington State regulations, “vessel operators involved in incidents where persons are seriously injured or killed in the No Wake Zone may be charged with a felony resulting in a fine of $10,000 and 15 years in prison”. The cost of repairing someone’s boat or dock or paying their medical bill may far outweigh the inconvenience of slowing down in “The Zone.” Being aware of your actions and the actions of your friends and family out on the water can go a long way in preventing potential conflicts related to wake. So protect yourself and others by adhering to the No Wake Zone at the 5 MPH rule within 150 feet of shorelines, docks and floats.
Larita Humble Boating Safety Committee