As wake makers have grown in popularity in the United States, so have protests from owners and environmentalists who say the waves they generate are causing considerable damage to the coastline, and from Minnesota the results of a university study also confirmed this.

“This is a new use for yachts, and we wanted to know what that would mean. Our next step is to use this data to measure how big waves affect lake ecology.”

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The study showed that the waves produced by wake makers – boats that gallop through the water and produce a surf-friendly wake – are two to three times larger than the wake of an ordinary boat, and contain 3 to 9 times the energy. In addition, studies have shown that to minimize the impact of wake waves, some yachts need to be buffered at least 425 to 500 feet from the shoreline or pier. This is notable because most relevant regulations enacted in the U.S. to date specify a buffer zone of 200 feet.

Additionally, according to another MilleLacs Messenger’s article, a recent survey of 3,000 recreational yachting enthusiasts by the MDNR: Minnesota Department of Natural Resources found that 45% of respondents believed that other boats resulting huge tail wave is a problem.

“In our conversations with lake associations, the yachting industry and other stakeholders, we believe action is warranted,” said Jeff Forester, executive director of Minnesota Lakes and Rivers Conservation. “All groups are starting to realize that action is needed to protect public safety to ensure that people can have fun on the lakes and do so without negatively impacting public resources,” he said.

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The study comes as Minnesota, like the rest of the U.S., has experienced a yachting boom brought on by the pandemic. About 16,000 new boats have been registered in the state over the past two years. This data is staggering.

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