By Mike and Christine DuBois

Watch your wake.

These three small words tell a big story. In our first column, we discussed traffic patterns. This week we will take an in-depth look at wakes. 

When you create a wake you are responsible for that wake until it dissipates on the shore. Plan ahead and consider where your wake is going and what impact it will have when it gets there. 

We often have experienced another boater comment “the conditions were really calm except for that one boat wake.” But the wake that disrupted an otherwise perfect set was created by their own poorly driven boat. That same area could have good conditions for 10 boats if everyone follows proper traffic patterns (see first article) and has good “watch your wake” practices. 

The most common mistake we observe is the habit of nose up, plowing type of driving when approaching a marina or doing a lake tour close to shore. This is the awkward middle speed (5-15 m/ph) where your boat is not up on a plane. The nose is high, the prop is pulled down, and a large wake results. It is usually done as a way to save time when approaching shore. Instead, approach the shore at a higher speed (smaller wake) then abruptly change to idle speed (5 m/ph). There will be less of a wake, less interaction between your prop wash and the bottom of the lake. Driving in the plowing, nose up position can cause displacement of sediment if the depth is low – not good for the lake bottom and definitely not good for your boat or prop. 

Every boat creates a wake. Many operators forget that a wake travels a long distance and takes a long time for the wave’s energy to dissipate. The next time you are on the lake, take note of those three words: watch your wake. Be cognizant and considerate of where you send those wakes and where you make them.

Getting jumped on the Lake: On June 26, a boat full of people flagged us down using the universal distress signal (both arms waving and crossing above the head.) Their battery was dead. We jumped them and all was merry. About four hours later another group flagged us down: same problem. I got to feel like a hero twice in one day!  Tip: Carry a set of extra long jumper cables in your boat and have lots of water on board. If you plan to float and play music consider a portable speaker instead of using your boat speakers or bring a battery booster pack. Stay tuned for boating safety and precautions.