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» NO WAKE ZONE DEFINITION | The Marinas on Lake Loudon


sailing Pics 029

We as a family in The Marinas, Inc. like to promote Boater Education and Boater Safety for all our members and their guests.  A safe day on the water is a good day on the water. Here is a response to a question we get a lot regarding “No Wake Zones”. Hopefully, this will clarify the LAW for new boaters and old seasoned boaters alike. Some of this is technical jargon (for those who appreciate such things), but most is just helpful advice.

Thanks for being apart of The Marinas family,

Christopher King – FRM

Wake — The swell, moving waves, track,
path, or water pattern astern of a vessel passing
through water.

No Wake Speed — A speed at which the
vessel does not produce a wake, not to exceed 5
miles per hour.

From TWRA‘s website: http://www.tn.gov/twra/boatingregs.html

  • No Wake (Idle Speed) Areas

    Unless otherwise marked, all vessels operating within 300 feet of a commercial boat dock must do so at a slow wake speed regardless of whether or not the area is marked by buoys.

    “No wake” is defined as a vessel traveling at or below idle speed, or at such speed that the boat or its wake (waves) is not sufficient to cause possible injury or damage to other persons, boats, or property.

Speed in excess of five miles per hour is prohibited. Speed of all vessels must be reduced so the wash and wake will cause no discomfort, hazard, injury or damage to person, vessels or property.

Lots of vessels underway at 4.7 MPH will still create a “swell.” What is probably more important is if that wash and wake causes no discomfort, hazard, injury or damage. You can see that it is NOT an “either/or” regulation. Someone “plowing” at 4 MPH may not be exceeding 5 MPH, but they can create one heckuva wake.

Civil liability of owner; recovery limited to actual damages.

The owner of a vessel shall be liable for any injury or damage occasioned by the negligent operation of such vessel, whether such negligence consists of a violation of the provisions of the statutes of this state or neglecting to observe such ordinary care and such operation as the rules of the common law require. The owner shall not be liable unless such vessel is being used with his or her express or implied consent. It shall be presumed that such vessel is being operated with the knowledge and consent of the owner, if at the time of the injury or damage, it is under the control of his or her spouse, father, mother, brother, sister, son, daughter, or other immediate member of the owner’s family. Nothing contained in this section shall be construed to relieve any other person from any liability which he would otherwise have, but nothing contained in this section shall be construed to authorize or permit any recovery in excess of injury or damage actually incurred.

BoatUS  put out a press release on wakes I’ll share with you:
Boat Wakes Make People Angry – And Can Injure

ALEXANDRIA, Va., August 26, 2009 – Boat wakes — those long, frothy, V-shaped waves trailing from the stern of a powerboat as it slices through the water — have a sinister side. When other vessels encounter them, they can hurt people. They can make people angry, and they can bring the wrath of law enforcement, for good reason.

Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatU.S.) recently looked into the issue of boat wakes by combing through the insurance claims case files, where swampings, broken teeth, and back injuries are found. “You avoid being the recipient of gestures from other skippers by using a little common sense and courtesy,” says BoatU.S. Director of Damage Avoidance Bob Adriance. “This means coming completely off plane when you enter a no wake zone or anywhere your wake could compromise the safety of other boats,” he adds.

Here are some tips to help prevent boat wake injuries to you and other boaters:


  • Slow early: Boat wakes travel distances, so slow down before you reach a slow-speed zone, not as you pass the marker.
  • Just a little slowing down isn’t good enough: Upon entering a no wake zone, some boaters react by only slowing the vessel slightly, and then plow through with the bow way up and stern dug down, actually increasing the wake. Come completely off plane.
  • Make her level: Without using trim tabs, a slowed vessel should be level in the water. With some smaller boats, shifting passengers around can help, as too much weight aft increases wake size.
  • Watch the shallows: Shallow water increases wake size.
  • Small boats aren’t innocent: Wakes are not just a big boat issue — small vessels in the stern-down position can throw surprisingly large wakes.
  • When approaching a wake, slow down but don’t stop: Motorboats are more stable when underway, so stopping could make things worse. Avoid taking a wake on the beam or head on. The best approach is at a slight angle. This will keep your passengers in your boat.
  • Take care of older crew: The BoatU.S. insurance claims files show that persons over the age of 50 have the most personal injuries, mostly as a result of being seated near the bow when the boat slams into a wake. It’s best to seat passengers — especially older passengers — amidships.
  • Warn the crew: A simple “Hold-on. Boat wake” should do the trick, just as long as you shout the warning well before the wake arrives.

BoatU.S. – Boat Owners Association of The United States – is the nation’s leading advocate for recreational boaters providing its 600,000 members with government representation, programs and money saving services. For membership information visit BoatUS.com: BoatUS Home Page (http://www.BoatUS.com) or call 800-395-2628.