Wakeboarding & Wakesurfing Bill

Sunday, January 9, 2022

URGENT Attention:  A bill to address wakeboarding and wake surfing concerns on Indiana lakes!

Hello TWF Board members, partners, and supporters!  I am writing to make you all aware of a bill that has been introduced in the Indiana Statehouse. I personally believe this bill offers a measured and reasonable approach to the safety concerns and ecological damage being done by some wakeboats and surfing on some Indiana lakes.  And the boating industry agrees; see the letter of support below from the National Marine Manufacturers Assn., the Watersports Industry Assn., and the Marine Retailers Assn. of the Americas!

If the bill were to pass as written, we would NOT see major changes on the large high-speed boating lakes in our area including Tippy, Webster, Wawasee, Winona, Big Chapman, Dewart, and Big Barbee – except for not surfing at night or behind an outboard.

The biggest concerns for both safety and water quality are for the smaller lakes that currently have 10 mph speed limits (examples include Pike, Center, Ridinger, Waubee, most of the Barbee Lakes, as well as Old, New, Goose, Crooked, Loon, and Big Lakes in Whitley County). Since surfing is done at speeds under 10 mph, this activity is currently being conducted on small lakes causing harm to shorelines that have no seawalls, water quality, and private property.

There are (3) main components to the bill, and this is my summary:

  1. No wake boarding or wake surfing between sunset and sunrise.
  2. No wake boarding or wake surfing on small lakes (defined per statute as a lake between 70 and 300 acres) unless a special ruling has been granted from the Natural Resources Commission (NRC). These are generally referred to by lakers as “10 mph speed limit lakes.” In addition, if a small lake has special restrictions already in place (for example fast time or skiing only between the hours of 1-4pm) than a wakeboater can only operate during the same hours as the speed boat. There will also be a process to allow individual lakes to petition the NRC for certain additional restrictions or rules that may be particular or unique to their lake alone – such as times of day, days of the week, or locations in the lake.
  3. No wake surfing behind a boat with an outboard motor.

This bill is being introduced in both houses of the legislature – as Senate Bill 187 (Senator Glick) and House Bill 1055 (Rep Abbott).

Let your voice be heard!  Primary calls to action ASAP:

  • Senate Bill 187 passed out of the Senate Natural Resources Committee and is expected to go to the full Senate for a vote on Thursday, January 20. Please call or email your State Senator ASAP and urge them to support SB 187 Wake boarding & Wakesurfing. Not sure who to call? Find out here – http://iga.in.gov/legislative/find-legislators/

 

Letter of Support for Wakeboard Bill

 

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