It’s not just streets that have traffic signs.
Waterways also have a variety of buoys and markers identifying important information for boaters, whether that’s to identify restricted areas or to protect those on the shoreline.
No-Wake Zones, in particular, are not just about slowing down.
The markers are strategically located to enforce a zone aimed at helping prevent erosion and protect congested areas where there are a lot of marinas, commercial areas, or private property. This is the area where boats and personal watercraft must operate at a slow headway speed that does not create a wake or swell. The zone includes areas within 50 feet of the shoreline or any boathouse, dock or other lakeshore facilities, including an occupied watercraft or area where people are swimming or diving.
The Brazos River Authority has “No Wake” buoys strategically located across Possum Kingdom Lake and lakes Granbury and Limestone. The can-style buoy has a No Wake emblem on it along with a circle around the word “No.”
No-Wake Zones are areas 50 feet from structures or the shoreline per state law, said Robert Box, Lake Ranger Sergeant at Possum Kingdom Lake. Boaters violating regulations of the No-Wake Zone state law could face a Class C misdemeanor, which could cost up to $500.
However, a boater can still be held responsible for damage caused by a wake - a wave created by the passage of the vessel – to another person’s property, whether that’s a floating dock or a moored watercraft.
Many of the No-Wake Zones at Lake Granbury are around bridges and in various canals, where it’s a tight fit and a large wake could damage homeowners’ docks and retaining walls, said Paul Nieto, Lake Granbury Lake Ranger.
Most people don’t realize the size of the wake the boats distribute, Nieto said.
Slowing down is much easier on your wallet than being confronted with costly repairs to someone else’s property.
A few tips from Boating Magazine include:
- Slow down whenever passing within 500 feet of a small boat, the shoreline or a marina, even if there are no posted no-wake zones. Distances beyond that allow the wake’s waves to spread out and get rounder, disrupting other boats less and causing less erosion.
- Slow down in advance. Chopping the throttles while arriving doesn’t alleviate the wake’s effect.
- When in a no-wake speed, remember neutral trim allows your boat to proceed with the smallest wake.
- Larger boats can go 10 mph while idling in gear due to large props.