I read the Winter 2021-22 Newsletter article regarding Wake Boats. [See page 6 of the winter newsletter.] It may be of interest to readers to know WI currently has State Statutes which offer some relief from documented wake boat damage.
Jacob Holsclaw, Recreation Warden Eau Claire DNR Office, offered this information to the Town of Presque Isle as they crafted their proposed Ordinance: “Overall the condition report was thorough, however I want to bring your attention to the following:
- Under Sec 30.68(4)(a), Wis. Stats. No person shall operate a motorboat so as to approach or pass another boat in such a manner as to create a hazardous wake or wash.
- And under Sec 30.68(4)(b), Wis. Stats. An operator of a motorboat is liable for any damage caused to the person or property of another by the wake or wash from such motorboat unless the negligence of such other person was the primary cause of the damage.
By looking at these statutes, you can see existing Wisconsin state law covers hazardous wake. In general, we want to go back to state statutes and determine if an issue can be resolved with existing state law. Ideally, this would be a first step to resolve issues with boats causing a hazardous wake.“
Future research on wake boats will guide local control as will continued educational efforts, but there exists remediation for violations affecting our lakes. Christopher J. Bartelt, Lieutenant, Woodruff Team Warden Supervisor Division of Public Safety and Resource Protection WDNR reminds lake property owners they can report violations anonymously: “Reports can be submitted anonymously through our Violation Hotline as well at 1-800-TIP-WDNR (1-800-847-9367). The beauty of this route is, by initiating the complaint through this Hotline number, a caller can remain anonymous through protections granted by WI § 23.38.”
Look forward to updates from VCLRA regarding this important topic.