We found some interesting information on line that should be helpful to all enjoying lake activities.
The popularity of wake surfing has the potential to create conflict on our lake – it has done elsewhere and resulted in banning these boats totally from some lakes and limiting their use in others. Self-regulation is always the best way to go if possible. Shuswap lake is especially challenging because most of each arm is relatively narrow compared to the distance needed for the wave to dissipate before it gets to shore.
I will let you read the whole article yourself but some interesting facts that do have references are:
• Boat wake and prop wash can churn up sediments in shallow water which releases dormant nutrients that promote weed growth and algae blooms
• A wave’s energy is proportional to the square of its height so a 3 meter high wave has 9 times more energy than a 1 meter high wave.
• As waves enter shallow water they slow down, grow taller and change shape
• A number of governments & government agencies, as well as local organizations in Canada & the US are struggling with how to deal with the erosion & safety issues associated with wakeboarding. Wakesurfing has the potential for even greater harm.
What they are looking at is restrictions for wakeboard boats to a minimum of 300 meters from shore “to allow waves to lose their energy before reaching shore”. My experience swimming parallel to our shore and maybe 25 meters out is that a wake surf boat passing by in the middle of the lake makes a wave that is hard to swim through and I need to be careful that it doesn’t swamp me when I take a breath. When I read the wake article I wanted to know how wide the lake was where I live. Another Board member referred me to an excellent resource from Navigation Canada.
Using this site you can plot a point on each shore and it will tell you the distance across – great information for those who like to swim across the lake – they can measure the distance and brag about it. Where I live the lake is only about 1.5 km wide so I am about 700 meters from a boat going by in the middle of the lake. FYI here is what we found about the width of each arm of Shuswap Lake:
>Salmon Arm: Min 1.3km Max 3.2km Avg 2km
>Anstey Arm: Min 1.0km Max 2.3km Avg 1.5km
>Seymour Arm: Min .5km Max 2.5km Avg 1.3km
>Shuswap Lake Main Arm: Min 1.5km Max 3.6km Avg 2.5km
>The Narrows .5km
And finally another SWOA Board member pointed out that wake surf boats create the dominant wave only on one side of the boat. Best to keep that wave as far from shore as possible.