The Free Press out of Mankato, MN recently published a story regarding the growing scrutiny that wakesurfing has come under in Minnesota. New legislation is being introduced from two different representatives, Rep. Erin Koegel (DFL – Spring Lake Park) and Sen. Bill Weber, to curb wake boat use.
Erin Koegel introduced a bill that would outlaw wake boats within 200 feet of shore in addition to restricting them on lakes smaller than 50 acres and water ways narrower than 500 feet wide. Bill Weber is taking a similar approach with his bill that prohibits wake boats from creating a wake within 200 feet of shore, docks, swimmers and the shoreline.
Both of these bills work great in theory, but they don’t attack the root of the problem. The issue people have with wake boats is the (1) noise, (2) massive wakes they create, and (3) risk of invasive species.
Malibu, Master Craft and many of the other wake boat producers are attacking the noise problem that the boats create. Their boats are getting quieter every year. And with that, hopefully surfers will be able to play music at levels that they can hear over the motor. Levels that won’t anger nearby boaters and residence.
While the noise is currently being addressed, the massive wakes the boats create and the risk of invasive species are not. Wakes are getting larger and longer with each new series of boat. Manufacturers are tailoring their boats to the buyer who wants a bigger wake, not the disgruntled resident across the lake from you who wants a smaller one.
As for the invasive species issue, this is a problem industry wide. Aquatic hitchhikers are just as much of a problem on wake boats as any other boats that travel between different bodies of water in the summer.
The introduction of wake boat legislation is nothing more than a facade. An attempt by politicians to make it seem as though progress is being made against wake boats, when in reality nothing is really being done.