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What Do You Know about Your Boat's Wake and Wash?

What Do You Know about Your Boat’s Wake and Wash?

You love to boat on beautiful British Columbia’s waterways. Are you mindful, though, about your boat’s wake and wash?

A boat's wake is the trail of waves left behind as it moves through the water. A boat’s wash is the churning of water created by the boat’s propeller at the stern. Your boat’s wash is also called whirlpool or eddy.

What are the adverse effects of not controlling your wake and wash?

When you don’t control your boat’s wake and wash, you can endanger swimmers.

Wakes can rock, swamp, or capsize other boats.

Wakes striking shorelines can cause rapid and severe erosion.

Wakes can destroy sensitive habitats and impact aquatic and plant life.

Did you know? The faster boat your boat goes, the bigger the wake and wash it will create.

Respect no-wake zones: Many waterways have designated no-wake zones to protect critical habitats and reduce the risk of erosion. Maintain a slow speed when passing through no-wake zones.

When you control your boat’s wake and wash you will help minimize the danger to other boaters and swimmers and the environmental impact.

How can boat operators control their wake and wash?

Respect speed limits

When boating in British Columbia, boat operators are to observe a speed limit of 10 km/h (6 mph) within 30 metres (100 ft) from shore. This limit applies except where other limits are posted.

Respecting speed limits helps reduce wake and the impact on marine life and their habitats and vegetation.

Did you know? Wakes can damage boats secured to docks. A large wake taken broadside causes a boat to severely rock even if it’s tightly tied to the dock. Wake taken on the stern or bow can pull mooring hardware from the boat, the dock, or both.

Use efficient an engine and propeller

Installing an efficient boat motor and propeller helps reduce the drag of your boat. Less drag means less wake and wash. Drag is the resistance caused by your boat as it moves through the water.

The lower the resistance, the less power is needed to propel your boat, which also saves energy and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

Consult a boat expert to help you select right engine and propeller for your boat.

Respect B.C.’s environment

When you avoid sensitive habitats, you help protect marine ecosystems and the species that live there.

Your boat’s wake and wash can disrupt local species’ behaviors and cause physical damage to ecosystems.

You can use a nautical chart to identify sensitive habitats and places where boating is prohibited. Navigation systems can also be equipped with mapping functions that let you know where there are sensitive wildlife habitats.

Operate your boat responsibly

When passing another boat or shore structure, stay as far away as possible because your wake may cause the operator of the other watercraft to lose control or cause damage to a dock or boathouse.

When in shallow water, avoid churning up the bottom sediment.

Did you know? Big wakes are caused by boats cruising with the bow high and the stern deep.

Boat insurance isn’t legally required in British Columbia, but it’s a great way to protect your investment in your boat.

Speak to a Western Financial Group boat insurance expert about your B.C. boating insurance needs.