Monday, June 27, 2022

WAKESURFING: Other side of story

| May 18, 2022 1:00 AM

A recent piece by a group calling themselves the “River Friends” painted a gross mischaracterization of the safety of boaters in the Spokane River. Our community deserves to get the full picture of safety on the river, especially with boating season upon us.

The Spokane River has a strong history of safety and very few incidents. We should applaud our sheriff’s department for that safety record. They have worked to strike an important balance between the interpretation of the law and making decisions that benefit and protect the community.

The “River Friends” also made inaccurate claims about the supposed harm created by wake boats. In truth, a recent numerical wake study done by Endicott Fay supports a very different conclusion. The study found that boat-generated wakes dissipate quickly without shoreline erosion. Moreover, the study found that wind-generated wakes, not those created by boats, were the top contributor to shoreline erosion. Wakesurfing boats specifically already operate at a speed that remains at or below 11 mph, making them both among the safest and most modern vessels on the water but also significantly slower than speed boats.

Wakesurfing boats have been increasingly important to the recreational boating economy, in Idaho and across the entire U.S. This industry helps to support individuals, families, and communities — as well as businesses like marine manufacturers, and dealers like myself. As a result, the boating industry cares deeply about the safety of their customers and the responsible stewardship of all lakes and rivers. We can prioritize the protection of the Spokane River, without limiting access and targeting the wake boats that offer joy to so many.


Coeur d’Alene

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