Lake Ecology & Preservation



Wake Damage
Boats make waves, and big waves cause big damage, not only to the natural environment, but also to the safety of others. Our waterways can no longer handle the pace of modern use and abuse that we are forcing on them.

Boat Wake and Wash are concerns. Large waves can be a nuisance and sometimes even dangerous. Therefore, the key to safety and shoreline success is to watch the wake from the boat and avoid erosion along the waterway.

Loon Lake is home to thousands of aquatic creatures. Some of the organisms are so tiny they can only be seen with a microscope, yet each is a very important part of the ecosystem. When waves enter the shallow waters, they drag along the bottom and disturb plants, animals and eggs in the area. Waves also erode river banks and destroy loon nests. The strength and size of the waves will determine the impact they have on the shoreline. The larger the wake, the more damage it can cause. The eggs of most aquatic animals are each enclosed in a protective membrane. Some species, such as fish, insects and frogs lay eggs in the water. Waves from passing boats can break the eggs. They can also stir up the mud from the bottom of the water. This mud sticks to the eggs. This prevents the eggs from getting oxygen. As a result of this, the eggs choke and die. If all this life died as a result of large waves hitting the shore, there would be no food for the bigger fish, the loons or the great blue herons. This would cause a major problem in the food chain. The smaller animals at the bottom of the food chain would be gone. Therefore, the bigger animals would have no food to eat and would eventually starve. It is for reasons such as these that we want to decrease the amount of wake action produced by our boats.

One of the most effective enforcement techniques is "peer pressure". Next time you are talking to your parents or neighbours, tell them about the importance of controlling wake and wash damage.

Preventing Wake Damage
Only you are responsible for your actions. You are also responsible for keeping our waters healthy and for not causing harm to people or their property.

You don't have to have a boat or own a cottage to reduce wake and wash damage. Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Make sure the captain of the boat follows them.
  • Learn at what speed your boat produces the least wake. For some boats, the slowest speed is not always the least damaging. The design of the boat's hull is very important to the amount of wake produced.
  • Go "dead slow" when close to shore, in busy areas and along narrow channels.
  • Reduce your speed in the spring of the year when waterfowl are nesting in the shoreline habitat.
  • Take extra caution when you are approaching other traffic on the water and when you see the "Watch Your Wake" sign.
  • Obey all posted speed limits.

Note: Boats are not the only water vessels that cause damage. Personal watercraft, such as Sea-Doos and Jet Skis, also produce a wake and cause many of the same problems already described. Helpful hint: If you don't have a speedometer, remember that most boats traveling 10 kilometerss an hour or less generate little or no wake.

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Copyright ©2011 Loon Lake Park District Association, P.O. Box 301 Chestertown, NY 12817