Capt. George East
- HOW TO BE COURTEOUS AND PREVENT YOUR WAKE FROM DISTURBING
- HOW TO PROTECT YOUR BOAT AND YOUR PASSENGERS
WHEN OTHERS AREN'T SO COURTEOUS.
QUESTION: Why should I care about
- Maritime Law plainly states that
you are responsible for any damage caused by your
- Common courtesy to your fellow
boaters on the waterways.
QUESTION: Me and my
boating buddies run slow in our mid 20's to
mid 30's cruisers so our wake shouldn't be a problem.
Right or wrong?
- Right if you are running
8 mph or less. WRONG if your "slow
speed" is in
the 11 to 18 mph
range. At those speeds
your planing hull
boat is in transition
from hull speed to
planing speed. The
result of that power
setting is a disaster
for you and everyone
on the waterway.
Your boat's engines
are straining, your
fuel economy (mpg)
is worse than if
you were running
at full throttle
and you are MAKING
THE LARGEST WAKE
THAT YOUR BOAT CAN
MAKE AT ANY SPEED!!
Try that some time
and look behind you
and see what is happening
to your wake.
What can I do
to prevent my wake
from disturbing others?
- Be aware of other
boats and their
- Boats most likely
to be damaged by
your wake will
be at anchor; rafted
to other boats
at anchor; tied
to a dock at the
shore or pushed
up on a beach.
- When running at an efficient
planing speed small to mid size cruisers ( 25'
to 30') need to stay at least 250 yards clear of
the above boats. Larger cruisers and motor yachts
need to maintain at least 500 yards clear when
running on plane.
- IF YOU ARE AT ALL IN DOUBT
ABOUT YOUR WAKE SLOW DOWN TO A MINIMUM WAKE SPEED
WELL BEFORE YOU REACH THEM!
- IF YOU WAIT UNTIL THEY
ARE ABREAST OF YOU TO SLOW DOWN YOUR FOLLOWING
WAKE WILL STILL HIT THEM WITH FULL FORCE!
What about overtaking a slower boat?
- When overtaking a boat
that is running much slower than you are
at any wake making speed pass well clear (at least
200 yards) to allow him to maneuver into your
wake at 60 to 90 degrees with his bow. If the waterway
is too narrow or too crowded to allow that then
SLOW DOWN TO MINIMAL WAKE SPEED. Contact the
slower boat on the marine radio and ask him to
slow to an idle and then you can pass him at your
minimal wake speed and not cause any damage. THIS
IS KNOWN AS A SAFE PASS. It is used extensively
on the narrow sections of the Intercoastal Waterway.
How can I keep from having my passengers tossed
and around and my boat damaged while underway
by a large wake from another boat.
- The absolute best defense
is "situational awareness".
That is being aware of other boats near you
and their course and speed.
a boat coming
toward you making
a large wake
slow down to
just above idle
and turn your bow
into the wake.
Do not speed up
until you have
ALL the waves from
- When being overtaken by a
boat making a large wake, turn your boat
so that you are moving away from the wake long enough to allow
you to make a turn back toward the wake with your bow
entering the wake at about 90 degrees at a speed of
just above idle.
- Taking wakes with the bow
of your boat at a speed just above idle is
always the safest and most comfortable method of
dealing with large wakes.
Above, two kids who got swamped by
a large cruiser wake re-enact their panic. A 41' Sea
Ray aft cabin came on plane less than 50 yards from
the bowrider, and even
following the advice above, it was hard to prevent
the bow from getting stuffed.
got washed overboard when the boat filled with 6"
of water during the event. Rollers from faster-moving
large boats tend to be closer together than those from
slower barges, and can even flood the decks on a towboat
or houseboat. Thank goodness for working bilge pumps
and a self bailing hull on this little boat! Photo
by Capt. -Eric
When the waterways are
narrow or crowded it is you the captain's responsibility
to be sure your boat and your passengers are properly
prepared for a large wake and also
for you to be alert and ready to take the proper
action to mitigate damage or discomfort.
FINAL NOTES: Most wake damage and discomfort
are caused by skippers that are unaware that
they are doing anything that would harm someone's
boat or passengers. However there are some
skippers out there who know better but really
don't care. If you follow the above procedures
you will be ready for both kinds. Also if you
wake someone and they call you on the radio
to complain just apologize. It takes two people
to have an argument and an apology will diffuse
Be careful and have fun out there. -Capt George
Capt George East
USCG MASTER 100 GRT
Capt. George East
Paradigm Yacht Sales
East has been boating since he was seventeen,
has had other interests including flying (FAA
licensed pilot) car racing, and snow skiing,
but he has always remained an ardent boater.
After earning a USCG captain's license some 25
years ago, George spent time as a delivery and
demonstration captain for one of the major motoryacht
During this same period, while
he was building a successful construction and
ready mix concrete company, George still found
time to own and operate several boats including
two Chris-Crafts, a Gulfstar, and two Hatterases.
Fast forward to the present
to find George retired from his businesses,
devoting all of his energy to boats and the
boating industry. George currently holds a
100 Ton USCG Master's license. His specialties
are classic Chris-Craft and Hatteras yachts.
George instructed with the U.S. Power Squadron
for 15 years, and is now a broker with Paradigm
Yacht Sales in Louisville, Kentucky and Cape
was contributed to this site by Paradigm Yacht
Sales, Louisville's largest brokerage.
looking to buy or sell a boat, you can reach
P.O. Box 1043
US Highway 42
Prospect, KY 40059