Boat wake can be damaging to the Kootenay Lake shoreline.

Boaters urged to slow down on Kootenay Lake

Boaters are being reminded to operate their pleasure craft safely and responsibly after residents in the Balfour area expressed concern.

Boaters are being reminded to operate their pleasure craft safely and responsibly after residents in the Balfour area expressed concern.

Regional District of Central Kootenay director Ramona Faust says people in Area E are worried that boats are travelling too fast for conditions as well as creating wake that is damaging the shoreline and its structures.

“High speed puts boaters at risk of hitting logs and other debris that results from freshet and the rising lake level,” she says. “It can be a dangerous thing to be going too fast this time of year.”

Faust believes a reminder that the recent spring run-off brings with it debris that ends up in the lake is prudent. And with the lake levels now near its peak, water picks up rubble beached along the shore.

Boaters are also urged to reduce the wake from their watercraft near developed shorelines as the powerful waves can negatively impact docks, moored boats and fishing                      activity, says Faust.

“Wake is the ripple effect that the boat makes but it can be a lot more than a ripple, especially if it’s made by a big boat travelling at high speeds,” she explains.

While wake can cause damage to structures at the shore, the force of the water can also erode the shoreline itself.

“For environmental reasons, we have shore spawners and little alcoves and wake can be disruptive,” she says acknowledging that a “vicious storm can to the same.”

Faust isn’t a boater but lives on the lake and crosses it by ferry often. She says she didn’t know that damage caused by boats’ wake was an issue.

“I thought if I don’t know then probably others didn’t know either,” she says.

 

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