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GeorgeWBush

Oregon boaters

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GeorgeWBush

I am going to be doing another season of being a Marine Sheriff's Deputy on Lake Billy Chinook. Next week I am attending the Oregon State Marine Board law enforcment pre-season conference. We will be reviewing laws and going over anything that might have changed in the off season. All the big wigs of the marine board will be there. If anyone as any questions, comements, or critiques I would be happy to bring them up at the conference and get back to you.

I know I know bOAters... to late to go back and fix it....

Edited by GeorgeWBush

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obski

There is a meeting of a working group of the board tonight to further discuss wake restrictions on the Upper Willamette. If this goes through, it is likely just a matter of time before similar restrictions are in place for other waterways in Oregon.

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GeorgeWBush
There is a meeting of a working group of the board tonight to further discuss wake restrictions on the Upper Willamette. If this goes through, it is likely just a matter of time before similar restrictions are in place for other waterways in Oregon.

Other than hitting up a "wet wednesday" once a summer I don't make it out on the river. What is the issue there? Congestion, floating homes, etc...

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WakeGirl

George,

I think that I'd be most interested in what changes have been made to existing laws, new laws coming into effect, & what focus law enforcement will have this year.

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GeorgeWBush
There is a meeting of a working group of the board tonight to further discuss wake restrictions on the Upper Willamette. If this goes through, it is likely just a matter of time before similar restrictions are in place for other waterways in Oregon.

We talked about this today. Those wake restrictions are specifically geared towards wake board boats. The Oregon Marine Board is seeing a growing divide between wake boarders and other boaters such as fisherman. The Marine Board has not really figured out what to do about it, and is open to suggestions. Right now something they are tossing around is enforcing weight restrictions more strictly, the way the law is written water ballast (even contained in factory installed tanks) counts against or towards (however you want to put it) "people and gear not to exceed..." what ever a boats capacity is. I have not looked to see what the capacity of say a 05 23ft wakesetter is, but I imagine that if all its (factory) ballast tanks are full and there are a few people on board with gear it might not be legal...

Otherwise there are no changes to existing laws. They are working on creating a law to restrict loud boat stereos, but that will be a couple of years before we see anything of it.

Enforcement will continue to focus on BUII's, PFD's and Boater Safety Education Cards (70 and below now).

Still a couple days of the conference left....

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MalibuTime

It would be interesting to ping an opinion on invasive species. With rapant spread of millfoil clogging up lakes, and other auquatic invasives, it seems like only a matter of time before flushing ballast tanks becomes required between bodies of water. I would like to see manufacturers adding a simple way to rinse tanks in your driveway, but also curious if this a topic of concern with LE, or just the dept of ecology. Washington's boater book has a specific section on it, especially since we have salt and fresh water species to worry about.

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GeorgeWBush
It would be interesting to ping an opinion on invasive species. With rapant spread of millfoil clogging up lakes, and other auquatic invasives, it seems like only a matter of time before flushing ballast tanks becomes required between bodies of water. I would like to see manufacturers adding a simple way to rinse tanks in your driveway, but also curious if this a topic of concern with LE, or just the dept of ecology. Washington's boater book has a specific section on it, especially since we have salt and fresh water species to worry about.

That is also a concern in Oregon, so far we have been lucky and caught stuff at boarder checks. They are working on education programs...

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obski
There is a meeting of a working group of the board tonight to further discuss wake restrictions on the Upper Willamette. If this goes through, it is likely just a matter of time before similar restrictions are in place for other waterways in Oregon.

We talked about this today. Those wake restrictions are specifically geared towards wake board boats. The Oregon Marine Board is seeing a growing divide between wake boarders and other boaters such as fisherman. The Marine Board has not really figured out what to do about it, and is open to suggestions. Right now something they are tossing around is enforcing weight restrictions more strictly, the way the law is written water ballast (even contained in factory installed tanks) counts against or towards (however you want to put it) "people and gear not to exceed..." what ever a boats capacity is. I have not looked to see what the capacity of say a 05 23ft wakesetter is, but I imagine that if all its (factory) ballast tanks are full and there are a few people on board with gear it might not be legal...

Otherwise there are no changes to existing laws. They are working on creating a law to restrict loud boat stereos, but that will be a couple of years before we see anything of it.

Enforcement will continue to focus on BUII's, PFD's and Boater Safety Education Cards (70 and below now).

Still a couple days of the conference left....

Yeah, one of the suggestions on the table is to not allow any ballast etc if there are more than 4 people in the boat, since that in general will put the boat over the weight limit if all of the ballast is used.

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WakeGirl
There is a meeting of a working group of the board tonight to further discuss wake restrictions on the Upper Willamette. If this goes through, it is likely just a matter of time before similar restrictions are in place for other waterways in Oregon.

We talked about this today. Those wake restrictions are specifically geared towards wake board boats. The Oregon Marine Board is seeing a growing divide between wake boarders and other boaters such as fisherman. The Marine Board has not really figured out what to do about it, and is open to suggestions. Right now something they are tossing around is enforcing weight restrictions more strictly, the way the law is written water ballast (even contained in factory installed tanks) counts against or towards (however you want to put it) "people and gear not to exceed..." what ever a boats capacity is. I have not looked to see what the capacity of say a 05 23ft wakesetter is, but I imagine that if all its (factory) ballast tanks are full and there are a few people on board with gear it might not be legal...

Otherwise there are no changes to existing laws. They are working on creating a law to restrict loud boat stereos, but that will be a couple of years before we see anything of it.

Enforcement will continue to focus on BUII's, PFD's and Boater Safety Education Cards (70 and below now).

Still a couple days of the conference left....

Is this in reference to what's happening on the Willamette, or statewide?

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GeorgeWBush
There is a meeting of a working group of the board tonight to further discuss wake restrictions on the Upper Willamette. If this goes through, it is likely just a matter of time before similar restrictions are in place for other waterways in Oregon.

We talked about this today. Those wake restrictions are specifically geared towards wake board boats. The Oregon Marine Board is seeing a growing divide between wake boarders and other boaters such as fisherman. The Marine Board has not really figured out what to do about it, and is open to suggestions. Right now something they are tossing around is enforcing weight restrictions more strictly, the way the law is written water ballast (even contained in factory installed tanks) counts against or towards (however you want to put it) "people and gear not to exceed..." what ever a boats capacity is. I have not looked to see what the capacity of say a 05 23ft wakesetter is, but I imagine that if all its (factory) ballast tanks are full and there are a few people on board with gear it might not be legal...

Otherwise there are no changes to existing laws. They are working on creating a law to restrict loud boat stereos, but that will be a couple of years before we see anything of it.

Enforcement will continue to focus on BUII's, PFD's and Boater Safety Education Cards (70 and below now).

Still a couple days of the conference left....

Yeah, one of the suggestions on the table is to not allow any ballast etc if there are more than 4 people in the boat, since that in general will put the boat over the weight limit if all of the ballast is used.

I see that as something that would be very hard to enforce unless I would be able to articulate that it was causing an "especially hazardous condition", such as the boat taking on water, or not being able to handle safely, and the would not be the case on a wakesetter or similar type boat.... At least that is how I view the law now, until I am instructed to view it otherwise...

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GeorgeWBush
There is a meeting of a working group of the board tonight to further discuss wake restrictions on the Upper Willamette. If this goes through, it is likely just a matter of time before similar restrictions are in place for other waterways in Oregon.

We talked about this today. Those wake restrictions are specifically geared towards wake board boats. The Oregon Marine Board is seeing a growing divide between wake boarders and other boaters such as fisherman. The Marine Board has not really figured out what to do about it, and is open to suggestions. Right now something they are tossing around is enforcing weight restrictions more strictly, the way the law is written water ballast (even contained in factory installed tanks) counts against or towards (however you want to put it) "people and gear not to exceed..." what ever a boats capacity is. I have not looked to see what the capacity of say a 05 23ft wakesetter is, but I imagine that if all its (factory) ballast tanks are full and there are a few people on board with gear it might not be legal...

Otherwise there are no changes to existing laws. They are working on creating a law to restrict loud boat stereos, but that will be a couple of years before we see anything of it.

Enforcement will continue to focus on BUII's, PFD's and Boater Safety Education Cards (70 and below now).

Still a couple days of the conference left....

Is this in reference to what's happening on the Willamette, or statewide?

Statewide...

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WakeGirl

That's what I figured, I just wanted to clarify. I guess I have concerns over how strictly that would be enforced on a lake like Billy Chinook or Prineville Resvoir vs. a waterway with homes on it such as the Willamette. It's not the same at all.

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GeorgeWBush
That's what I figured, I just wanted to clarify. I guess I have concerns over how strictly that would be enforced on a lake like Billy Chinook or Prineville Resvoir vs. a waterway with homes on it such as the Willamette. It's not the same at all.

Well I can only speak for Billy Chinook, and for the time being I think it will remain the status quo. But that is a glimps at the future if the OSMB does not get some input from wake boat owners. Remembers all the board members are, well, old and not wake boarders, or surfers... and I don't think it is an issue with floating homes as much as competing interests i.e. wakeboarding vs. fishing....

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WakeGirl

What kind of input do you think that they need?

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GeorgeWBush

good question. I'm on my way to go "network" right now....

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WakeGirl

If there's a way that I can help, I'd like to. The timeframe for your conference is tough though.

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GeorgeWBush
If there's a way that I can help, I'd like to. The timeframe for your conference is tough though.

Bucrew could always offer to be a sponsor... but I don't know how the members from the other 49 (and Canada) would feel about that:) lol

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MalibuTime
If there's a way that I can help, I'd like to. The timeframe for your conference is tough though.

Bucrew could always offer to be a sponsor... but I don't know how the members from the other 49 (and Canada) would feel about that:) lol

I'm good with that, or maybe rallying some industry sponsors. You need to learn how to combat ignorance or it runs rapant across all 50 states, and before you know it having a full ballast tank in the middle of the Columbia River 5 miles from anywhere will be outlawed!

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apwrx

I really dont want to see wakeboats being targeted,However i understand why, from what ive witnessed around the lakes here there is a large % of wakeboaters that take no care around other vessels.Its a WAKE boat and we need to think of what that wake is doing to other smaller vessels.We are being targeted and need to be extra cautious around fisherman/smaller vessels.

As long as the general public views us in a negative light we will continue to be restricted.I imagine a little more courtesy will go along way to help improve the light in which we are viewed. Dontknow.gif

Is there an outlet where we can voice our thoughts to the board?

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WakeGirl
If there's a way that I can help, I'd like to. The timeframe for your conference is tough though.

Bucrew could always offer to be a sponsor... but I don't know how the members from the other 49 (and Canada) would feel about that:) lol

Sponsor of what? You lost me there.

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obski

The marine board did an informal study on the Willamette using the Sherriff's boat, an unweighted Moomba, and a weighted Moomba at various speeds and conditions and measured the wakes. Basically they found that the size of the wake when it hit the measuring device was not really all that different both in measurement and as visualized from one boat to another. The biggest difference had to do with speed and driving. The biggest wake was made when traveling over 5mph and under 15mph, or when making circles - ie. tubing maneuvers. Any one boat, going in a straight line at a speed above 15mph, didn't produce a significant wake when it reached the shore.

They are also then considering rules that would limit speeds between 5 and 15 mph when running, and limit power turns. There may be rules specific to how many boats are in an area.

While these considerations are specifically looking at the Upper Willamette, I have no doubt that once in place it will only be a matter of time before they are adopted for other parts of Oregon.

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WakeGirl

Mandating common sense, I've never liked that. But it will happen.

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obski

Here is a copy of an e-mail sent from Randy Henry of the Oregon Marine Board to legislators getting e-mails and letters from constituents regarding this issue:

Hello, legislators who have been receiving e-mails regarding the wake

issue on the Willamette River.

The letters most of you are receiving are form letters that were

developed by wakeboard advocates prior to the meeting Tuesday night,

March 13, and made assumptions based on past meetings and some very

general concepts previously discussed. The framework presented Tuesday

night was actually pretty well accepted by industry, wakeboarders and

homeowners on both sides of the issue, except that certain individuals

feel adamantly that anything less than a ban on wake enhancing devices

will be a Marine Board capitulation to industry, and certain other

individuals felt that any attempt to control the use of wake enhancing

devices would be an unfair burden foisted by a few private riverfront

homeowners.

The meeting Tuesday night was very productive in getting broad input on

a series of activities to help resolve the problem. However, I haven't

written my Board report on the issue yet, and it's in that report that I

will make my recommendation. Therefore, this letter is an overview on

the issue so you understand the complexity and current activities so you

can respond as needed to the letters you are receiving.

I guess the key issue is that the Marine Board is very engaged, we don't

take regulation lightly, and any recommendation I make will still go

through a full public input process between now and June when the Board

makes a decision.

In 1999, Oregon had nearly 200,000 registered boats (motor boats and

sailboats 12' or longer). We now have around 185,000, so registrations

are steadily declining. However, boats are getting larger. In 1999, more

than half the boats were under 16' long with a 60 horsepower outboard.

We are losing about 8,000 of these small boats a year now, and gaining

about 4,000 larger boats now. Larger boats bring larger management

issues, especially when it comes to wakes.

Wakeboard boats came on the scene in the late 1990s, evolving from

regular waterskiing boats loaded down with water-filled bags called "fat

sacks." Wakeboard boats have internal tanks that hold anywhere from 900

to 2000 pounds or more of water. They average in size about 21' with

some up to 24 and 25 feet long. They have a tremendous amount of power

because the goal is to move a large mass through the water at such an

angle as to create large wakes. I have learned that many of these boats

are often overloaded: The Coast Guard has a capacity limit on each boat

that also includes the ballast water. Therefore, a boat we tested last

week has a total capacity of occupants, gear and ballast of 1800 pounds,

yet the ballast tanks held up to 1000 pounds. That leaves room for 3

people and gear. Review wakeboarding websites and you'll see that it's a

common practice to load the boat with ballast and 8 or 10 people to get

larger wakes. My observations on the Willamette indicate that this is a

frequent occurance here, too. In fact, you can readily purchase

aftermarket bags for your boat that functionally create a boat that is

illegal to operate at all, and I suspect this is not an uncommon issue.

A relatively new device is the "wedge". This is a hydrofoil that drops

below the boat and creates an additional downthrust of 1000 or more

pounds, but it doesn't count against the boat's capacity. Some call it a

loophole to the Coast Guard capacity limits, while others call it a

useful tool for achieving a larger, well-shaped wake. If you take a 22'

wakeboard boat weighing 3900 pounds or more, and then add 1200 to 2000

pounds of ballast, 800 pounds of people and 1200 pounds of downthrust,

you have a very heavy boat capable of creating artificially large wakes.

A comparably sized inboard aluminum fishing boat would be about 3000

pounds, plus the anglers. An average ski boat comes in around 2500-3500

pounds and 15 or 16' fishing boats can be 1000 to 2000 pounds.

If the fully loaded wakeboat is operated at 10 mph, it creates wakes

large enough for people to actually surf while unattached to the boat

(this is a new and upcoming sport). Wakeboarding tends to occur at 20

mph. Wakeboard boats tend to operate in relatively small areas doing

repeated passes back and forth, so the energy from the wakes is

repeatedly directed toward the shoreline, whereas fishing boats and

yachts tend to go from point a to point b and stay for a while.

We started receiving complaints from waterfront homeowners in 2000 when

the sport was new. By 2003 and 2004 the sport was peaking. We started

conducting more aggresive education and outreach efforts in 2005 with

the first working group. We did banners, flyers, direct mails, media

outreach, and many other efforts aimed at yachts - they also create

large wakes - and wakeboard boats. We made some headway but by fall of

2007, the complaints were still coming and it was apparent that

enforcement efforts using existing laws were not effective or adequate.

We also discovered that the Clackamas County noise ordinance was

difficult to enforce and was not an effective tool for officers

regarding the very large, high powered stereo speakers installed on this

boats. That's what brought us to our current situation.

As part of my effort to figure this issue out, I've read numerous

studies to try to determine if the erosion claim is credible. Wakeboard

boats can be operated without special regulation or problems in a number

of places around the state. For instance, the Columbia River, Lake Billy

Chinook and other locations. However, the Willamette River is narrow.

Much of the bank is steep and made up of fine sediments deposited here

during the Missoula Floods. These sediments are, by their very nature,

easily suspended by wave energy (that's how they got here). The banks

are highly erodable and unstable in certain areas.

To complicate the factor, there has been a great deal of urban

development in the Wilsonville area in the last 10 years. If you visit

the river you will see areas where large houses have removed the

stabilizing bank vegetation in favor of a clear view of the river. In

addition, the owners have planted large lawns that are presumably

irrigated. That water movement through the ground toward the river

further destabilizes the banks according to various experts I've talked

to.

And of course, there are all the standard environmental factors * soil

type, high water flows in the winter, storms, invasive species, surface

run-off from other development, etc.

There are a number of credible studies on boat wakes and erosion. One

that seems most applicable to the Willamette was done on the Kenai River

in Alaska and focused on heavy use by fishing boats. It found that

fishing boat wakes undercut the banks and cause the banks to slough off

into the river. My on-site observations indicate this is a credible

issue at least in some areas. I've talked to several subject experts at

state and federal agencies who support the plausibility of the

complaint. However, I'm not an environmental engineer and no state

agencies have conducted specific studies to quantify these impacts.

There are many factors that contribute to erosion on the Willamette, but

given the increase in activities that create substantially larger wakes

than historically seen, and that most of this activity occurs during the

summer when water levels are low allowing the wakes to strike

unprotected river banks, it is credible to assume that the wakes

contribute to the erosion. The erosion is not consistent from area to

area due to numerous contributing factors. A scientific study to

determine how much boating contributes to the erosion would be expensive

and complicated to conduct. Therefore, the Marine Board has stepped back

to focus on the wake issue specifically, because whether the complaint

is dock damage or erosion, the problem is the wake, and the wake is the

one thing the Marine Board has authority to influence through

regulation. We cannot address the other issues alone.

What are the solutions? A solution to solve any risk of erosion or dock

damage from boats would be a total ban on all motors on boats. That's

unrealistic. I also believe that a no-action alternative is unrealistic.

Over the years the Marine Board has responded to new technology by

adopting a framework of regulations to prevent certain social and safety

issues. When jet boats became popular, a contentious series of statewide

hearings led to restrictions that reduce access of jet boats to rivers

traditionally used by manually powered boats. When personal watercraft,

like Jet Ski and Waverunner, became popular, the Marine Board responded

to a large number of safety complaints by creating rules that limit

operation and use to certain waterbodies.

The Marine Board is still in the development stage of a concept to

alleviate wake impacts on waterfront properties while minimizing

regulatory restrictions on recreational boaters. The Willamette is a

busy river and becomes very congested on warm summer days. Balancing the

rights of the public with the rights of private property owners is a

difficult job. In discussing the options Tuesday night, I found

agreement on key issues:

- Dedicated law enforcement, specially trained to recognize overloading

issues, alcohol abuse and unsafe operation, are needed. Officers are

currently spread over a large area.

- Creation of a "Congestion Zone." This would designate the Newberg Pool

of the Willamette River a congestion zone and implement a series of

regulations to reduce wake size and conflict. While certain details were

not hashed out, it includes requiring straight-line operation (this

reduces wake size), prohibiting powered u-turns and figure eights,

separating boats pulling tubers or boarders by at least 200 feet

(reduces wakes from stacking up), and prohibiting operation within 100

or 200' of all docks. People were generally supportive of that.

- Enhanced outreach and education delivered in partnership with industry

and the Marine Board. This would include additional material in OSMB's

mandatory boater education program, creation of a low-impact boating

publication for distribution by dealers and boat educators, and other

outreach activities.

- Use Oregon State University Wave Research Center student to assist in

monitoring actual wake hieght during summer boating season. OSU has said

they would assist us.

- Develop a reference library of credible studies and materials to

better understand these issues. Would be housed at OSMB.

- Poll all riparian landowners to determine perceptions of historical

use patterns and problems.

- Noise enforcement. Currently OSMB has no statutory authority to

address stereo noise. It was suggested that this be addressed

legislatively. No one argued that noise shouldn't be addressed.

- Easing restrictions so homeowners can more easily armor the banks in

front of their properties. State and federal permits are difficult to

get. There are quite a few floating trees that could be affixed to

shorelines to reduce wake impacts and improve wildlife habitat. Industry

willing to support. This could require legislative assistance. Note -

this is complicated, too. Studies show that armoring a shoreline can, in

some instances, increase erosion downstream. It needs to be done

carefully.

Several key ideas are not generally supported. The key complainants on

boat wakes still insist that use of wake enhancing devices be banned.

Under such a regulation, boaters are still allowed to operate and people

can still wakeboard, but ballast tanks and hydrofoils could not be

deployed. There was also a call to prohibit operation of all boats over

a certain size - I think 24' was the general direction.

This is more information than you could possibly want. I have not

developed my final recommendation yet. Though most of the letters call

for no regulation, a number of those letter writers were present at the

meeting Tuesday night and did not argue the basic proposals noted above.

I hope this helps you understand the issue better. If you have any

specific questions, please feel free to give me a call at any time.

Randy Henry

[email protected]

Operations Policy Analyst

Oregon Marine Board

www.boatoregon.com

(503) 378-2611

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WakeGirl
- Dedicated law enforcement, specially trained to recognize overloading

issues, alcohol abuse and unsafe operation, are needed. Officers are

currently spread over a large area.

As opposed to what? Abe, don't take this the wrong way because I know that you know your stuff, it's not directed at you. But many of the people that I see in sheriff's unis on the waterways don't know their stern from their bow, let alone port from starboard. I've had too many experiences over the past couple of years with some of these guys that are supposed to be upholding & enforcing the law, yet they neither know the law or how to operate a boat. That's disturbing to me, it feels like sometimes they pull officers out of cruisers & put them in boats thinking, "it can't be that hard". We actually had to chase down a sheriff last year because he nearly ran down my son due to following too close. You shouldn't have to explain this kind of thing to them, yet it has to be done on a frighteningly consistent basis. So rather than make a whole bunch of new laws that they have to learn, how about making sure that they know the current ones as well as proper operation of a vessel? That would go a long way IMO.

Sorry for the rant, I guess it sort of turned into that. Again, that wasn't directed at you Abe.

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GeorgeWBush

I have just been talking to the Director. He said that he knows that is the 1% of wake boat operators putting everyone else's privileges at risk. He said (direct quote) that "peer pressure is the best solution for the problem, and the best way to avoid legislative changes." AKA: responsible, family wake boarders need to speak out when they see someone acting like an a**. It is actually property damage that is the biggest issue (and to a lesser extent competing uses). He also said that right now enforcing the capacity restrictions on a boat is just another tool to use against "problem causers". But that letter says it all really...

There is a push to limit wake on part of Prineville Res. and it is coming from the Marina. I doubt it will happen this summer...

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