Wakeboarding & Wakesurfing Bill – UPDATE

Tuesday, March 8, 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 in Kosciusko County, as well as Old, New, Goose, Crooked, Loon, and Big Lakes in Whitley & Noble Counties). 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 wakeboarding or wake surfing between sunset and sunrise.
  2. No wakeboarding 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.
  3. No wake surfing behind a boat with an outboard motor.

Here is a link to the actual bill so you can read the details for yourself.

(Note that Section 8 was removed via amendment on 2/16/2022 – 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.)

 

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