You are responsible for your wake and any damage it causes! It could dump someone out of his boat, cause someone to fall down the companionway stairs, swamp a bowrider, damage a boat at a dock on the shoreline or harm the environment by eroding the shoreline and much more. When your wake causes damage, it could result in very serious consequences. You are responsible and could be facing fines and lawsuits. Learn how to avoid wake damage.
A Wake is the waves generated in the water by a moving boat. Depending on the size of your boat, the wake you throw can be cavernous and, when it hits the shore, can have the effect of a series of small tidal waves.
Wake zones are posted for two reasons:
First, constant wakes can erode a shoreline and cause damage to any boats and docks along that shoreline.
- Secondly, big wakes can not only be very uncomfortable but very dangerous for oncoming boat traffic–especially if they are smaller than you.
The key is to SLOW DOWN all the way.
Many boaters figure that if they slow down slightly from their planing speed that they are doing the right thing. But, are they? In reality, when you drop just off of plane, you’re drawing a much larger wake than when you were on top. The typical rpm’s on plane is anywhere from 2800 to 4000 rpm where the boat is riding on top of the water. The typical rpm’s that people mistakenly slow down to, is what I call bulldozer speed where you are drawing a huge tidal wave. This rpm varies between 1800 and 2500. For a “no wake” zone, you should be running between 700 and 1500 rpm where the boat is in displacement mode, totally in the water and where the wake is no more than 6″ high.
There are many wake crossing tips covered in First Mate 101 . If you are, or have had, challenges with wakes, I highly recommend this section of First Mate 101. And, of course, there are 100’s of other tips on how the Captain and First Mate can work together as a team to enjoy boating like pros.
For a complete e-Lesson on Conquering Wakes, see the Conquering Wakes e-Lesson.
A wake is the wave
behind a moving boat.
It is nothing to be afraid of
but you have to take note.
Whether you are driving a yacht
or paddling a canoe
There are many tips and tricks
in this e-Lesson to help you.
Take appropriate defensive action
to conquer the monstrous wake;
Otherwise, you’ll be defeated and tossed
Like a helpless cork in the lake.
Always look behind your boat and check your wake. It is as important as looking forward to make sure you have a clear path. A variation on the old golden rule of “do unto others, as you would have them do unto you”, is to “leave a wake behind your boat, that you would want other boats to leave for you.”
Doug and Brenda Dawson 050913