Summer is right around the corner and the downtown riverfront is seeing a resurgence of activity in kayaking and standup paddleboarding. All these watercraft are non-powered and have the right of way over powered watercraft. Most of these non-powered drivers are inexperienced watermen and many are kids just having fun on Cane River Lake. The downtown stretch of Cane River from approximately Maglieaux’s Riverfront Restaurant to the Harrington Law Firm is a NO WAKE zone.
That means NO WAKE, not just slowing down to what we, individually, believe to be an OK speed to navigate this stretch of river. About 50 percent of boat traffic entering this NO WAKE zone slows to idle speed and complies with the NO WAKE rule. About half of the other 50 percent are courteous and will slow to idle speed when it’s brought to their attention that they’re making a wake. The other half is impatient to get where they’re going and will slow down, but continue to make a wake. Since there’s been little or no enforcement, they go on with impunity knowing they won’t get stopped and ticketed. This is a dangerous precedent and an accident waiting to happen. Imagine a car going through a school zone at 35 mph instead of the required speed of 15 mph and your kids or grandkids are crossing the street. Not only is higher than idle unsafe to low-maneuverability craft, but the wake damages the bulkheads, docks (especially floating docks), and the equipment moored to those docks.
Imagine your brand new $25,000 boat being slammed by an inconsiderate boater’s wake against the dock it’s moored to repeatedly as the wave train hits the dock while you’re having a meal at one of the downtown restaurants. Cane River Lake is a public waterway to be enjoyed by all who love to be on the water. We should all respect our fellow watermen and their gear and treat each other as we want our kids, families, tourists and gear to be treated. Common courtesy and respect goes a long way to ensure fun and safety for all who use the Cane River.
A few more minutes of your time is not going to matter in the scheme of your life. Most people use the river as a means of relaxation and joy after a stressful day or week at work. So, slow down in any NO WAKE situation and allow all of us to have a pleasant day.
Gerry Kiefer Cane River Paddle & Pedal Sports