Wake Boats in Vermont Update: What to Know and What You Can Do

JoAnn Hanowski, co-chair of the Greensboro Association’s Lakes and Environmental Stewardship Committee, sat down with NEK-VT Rocks out of Newport, VT to discuss the status of wake boats in Vermont alongside Jim Lengel of Responsible Wakes for Vermont Lakes.  

The topic of wake boats has been an active one within the Greensboro and surrounding communities in the past months.  Although wake boating can be a fun and rewarding way to keep the kids active, it also produces some unwanted side effects on our lakes, including: 

  • Eroding lake banks, causing phosphorus to spill into the lake
  • In shallow water, a wake boat motor can also churn up previously settled phosphorus from the bottom of the lake.
  • Invasive species such as Eurasian milfoil and zebra mussels can be released into lakes from the emptying of ballast tanks.
  • Waves can reach nesting loons and other wildlife, eliminating their productivity for at least a year.
  • Waves can also surprise and endanger other lake activities, such as kayaking, fishing, paddle boarding and swimming.

 As you’ll hear in the interview, JoAnn points out that the Department of Conservation understands there may be safety issues with wake boat interactions.  However, anecdotal evidence of safety issues is not persuasive enough.  She encourages anyone who has an interaction with a wakeboat to report it to the state or local police (in Greensboro call the Orleans County Police at 802-334-3333) so that there is an official record of it.  These records will provide important concrete evidence of safety issues with wake boats operating on our lakes.  

In addition, if you have a wake boat interaction story, Responsible Wakes for Vermont Lakes encourages you to send it to them at responsiblewakes.org.  

There will be another opportunity for public input, with a public meeting and written comments, early this summer.  It will be especially important to engage multiple generations of lake users in this process.  Stay tuned for the announcement of this upcoming meeting and opportunity to comment.  The Greensboro Association will keep membership apprised of that meeting date and time when details become available.