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Letters to the Editor

WEDNESDAY, AUG. 17, 2011

Making dangerous waves

Thinking of buying a $40,000 wakeboat so you can surf a beginner wave like a tourist at Waikiki Beach? Please don’t.

They’re not just obnoxiously noisy. (You may like that.) Wakeboats are destructive to property in normal use and may cause injury and even death to other lake users.

When used as the manufacturers intended, wakeboats generate a 2-foot wake that rolls serenely across the lake until it reaches the shore. There it harms the remaining wildlife habitat and tosses the docks around till they break up, causing thousands of dollars in damage. Wakeboats contribute significantly to the cumulative destructive impacts of powerboat wakes.

Floating docks react unexpectedly when the sneaker wave hits, suddenly bucking and twisting. This can toss unwary visitors and elderly people into the lake or cause falls. Meanwhile, canoeists, paddle boarders and kayakers struggle to keep from capsizing in the man-made surf. These injuries are immediately traceable to the operator.

Washington law makes the operator of a boat responsible for the damage its wake causes. A wakeboater intentionally creates a destructive wake.

Please surf in Hawaii and buy a more community friendly boat for our local waters.

Terrence V. Sawyer


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