by Scott Frame – Adapted with appreciation from kezar lake watershed association • Middle Basin resident • MPA board member since 2019 • 45+ years on the lake
A momentary respite from these cold months can be imagining the warmth of next summer and getting back to boating on Moose Pond. We each look forward to our favorite activities, cruising, fishing, kayaking, canoeing, water skiing, tubing, wake boarding and wake surfing. It’s a good time to remember that the choices we make individually about our boating behavior will impact the health of Moose Pond and the safety of our neighbors.
Wake surfing and wake boarding have increased substantially in recent years. While the challenges and excitement of these sports are undeniable, they require large wakes which can have side effects on Moose Pond.
Unhelpful Side Effects
Large wakes can damage docks, moored boats, loon nests and limit enjoyment of our neighbors in small watercraft like paddleboards, canoes and kayaks. Large wakes also erode the shoreline and stir up bottom sediment which often has a high phosphorous content. Phosphorous can cause algae blooms. Sediment can clog fish gills and suffocate fish eggs.
While large wakes are often associated with high-speed boating, you may be surprised that slow-speed boating (6 to 12 mph) creates the largest wakes. Off plane, a boat’s bow angles up and the propeller angles down which creates large wakes and stirs up bottom sediment in shallow water. This is known as “plowing the water” and the “prop wash cone” scours the bottom as shown below.
How to Help
Find large water areas where wakes will diminish before reaching shore.
Operate your boat at least 200 feet or more from shore.
Operate in water more than 20 feet deep where propeller wash won’t scour the bottom.
Leave and approach shore in a straight line. Turning makes large wakes.
Operate at least 500 feet from small watercraft.
Avoid small bays, channels and enclosed areas, especially during high water periods.
Avoid marshy areas where fish and loon habitats are likely to exist.
This coming summer let’s balance our love of fun boating activities with care for Moose Pond and our neighbors.
Want to learn more?
MPA, WAKE HAZARDS, by Dan Dolgin:
MPA, THE WAVES, THEY JUST KEEP COMING by Dan Dolgin:
Be #WakeAware video. From Muskoka Lakes Association & FOCA:
KLWA Don Griggs PowerPoint: Boat Wakes and the Consequences of Slow Speed Powerboat Activities:
KLWA Don Griggs Presentation video: Wakeboats: Concerns and Solutions for Potential Lake Degradation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3AjWpepuK8