MUCC supported wake boat legislation introduced

MUCC supported wake boat legislation introduced

MUCC-supported legislation regulating the use of wake boats was introduced in the Michigan House of Representatives. 

House Bill 5532, sponsored by Rep. Julie Rogers (D-Kalamazoo), sets a basic framework of where large wake-producing boats can operate without damaging lake ecology or lake bottom structure.

The legislation would require operating distances of at least 500 feet from shore and water depths of at least 20 feet when engaged in sport mode. Data shows these guidelines minimize the impact of the energy distributed to the lake from these vessels.  

The legislation follows the best practices recommendations laid out in a 2023 Michigan DNR report on the effect of wake boats on aquatic habitat, and a University of Minnesota study conducted in 2022.  The DNR report did not support a regulatory approach, but rather an educational and voluntary adoption of best practices. 

The bill is awaiting a committee hearing in the House Natural Resources, Environment, Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation Committee.  

To ensure our natural resources remain protected and managed thoughtfully and our outdoor heritage defended, join Michigan United Conservation Clubs today: http://bit.ly/JoinMUCC.    

9 Comments

  1. James Grubka on April 12, 2024 at 4:25 pm

    Justin, we live on a medium sized lake (Indian) in SW Mich. The wake boat wave erosion is extremely noticeable, especially in the recent high water years. The proposed law seems reason to mitigate the damage that they do without completely outlawing them. Skeptical of enforcement however, hoping photo documentation will be admissible. Bet the boating industry is lobbying hard to defeat this proposed bill or water it down so much that it’s worthless. Glad that the MUCC is on the side of this nearly 40 year member.

  2. David Maturen on April 12, 2024 at 5:06 pm

    Thanks for putting this out Jason. As you might be aware, the boating lobby (MBIA and WSIA) in Michigan put out an online petition just a few days after the bill was introduced. It appears that the entire House got a deluge of emails. And of course, Rep Rogers phone number was included and she got a lot of unpleasant calls.

    I hope this gets the attention and engagement of MUCC members who care about the damage wake boats do to our fisheries when they are not operated at an appropriate distance from shore and depth in Michigan’s rivers and lakes.

  3. John Pohl on April 15, 2024 at 3:48 pm

    I assumed that the boating industry would lobby hard against any limitations. I hope our legislators are willing to do what is right and support this legislation. It is essential in order to maintain the quality of our lakes in Michigan.

  4. Brian Bradcoski on April 15, 2024 at 4:12 pm

    We live on a 300 acre lake that’s only 11-12 feet at its deepest spot (the online Forest Service chart from the 1940’s shows it used to be 25 deep) and most of the lake is in the 4-6 foot range, so you can imagine the trail of sediment the 5-7 wake boats on our produce. Yet our lake Association strongly (blindly?) supports this activity…mainly because the majority of our board members just happen to be the wake boaters – or are good friends of them. The wake boats knocked our pontoon boat off its lift numerous times, so we ultimately had to spend $14,000 on a new lift which raises our boat higher out of the water. I don’t even want to go into how badly they’ve damaged our shoreline! And a good friend on nearby Crystal Lake just had to spend $30,000 to repair the damage to his shoreline from just one or two summer’s of wake boat activity. From my perspective there’s absolutely nothing wrong with wake boats when used on the proper lake, and I strongly believe HB 5532 is what’s needed to regulate these oversize boats being used on smaller, shallow lakes. I’m incredibly impressed by Julie Rogers for having her priorities straight and for having the guts to push this bill forward. Thank you Julie!!

  5. Tj on April 15, 2024 at 9:25 pm

    This would over crowd the other areas of the lakes and boating would become very dangerous for skiing and water activities. Why don’t they just make people put in sea walls.

    • Rob g on May 6, 2024 at 6:29 pm

      Not just the damage but inability of other forms of water recreation. Canoeing, kyacking, paddle boats, paddle boarding. And lots of smaller fishing boats. All people need to have safe access to lakes, especially 200 and 300 acre an narrow lakes.

  6. Brian Bradcoski on April 16, 2024 at 9:14 am

    Tj, Sea walls don’t help against the sediment that’s being kicked up, or against the damage to the lake bottom vegetation when running in water that’s too shallow (under 20 feet as recommended by HB 5532.). And of course there’d still be the issue of damage to docks and boats extending beyond the sea walls. Please don’t forget about the effect on swimmers, kayaks/canoes and fishing boats with the wake boats legally operating so nearby: here on Brooks lake in Newaygo we see them clear out for their own personal safety when the wake boats come out.

  7. Brian Bradcoski on April 22, 2024 at 2:05 pm

    Tj, one other thing regarding your seawall suggestion. Why should lake front property owners be put in a position to spend thousands, or more likely tens of thousands of dollars to prevent damage to their property? The wake boaters are the ones who should either cover the cost of the damage they cause…or they could simply follow the DNR’s recommendations to prevent any damage from occurring in the first place.

  8. Wayne on May 3, 2024 at 3:57 pm

    I have one very simple question, why has this Bill not been brought forward for a vote and when is this scheduled to happen? We’ve been reading about this for years in Michigan and all the articles are clear the damage being done to our inland lakes but yet…..no one in the State House appears to think this is important enough to take to a vote? I don’t get it….if this was about some other Green New Deal legislation….this would have been over and done with a long time ago.

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