Idaho County drops proposed wake boat ban

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Wakesurfing will be allowed without restrictions on seven Idaho lakes.

Wakesurfing will be allowed without restrictions on seven Idaho lakes.

In late April, the National Marine Manufacturers association and more than 250 wakesports enthusiasts helped defeat a measure in Valley County, Idaho, that would have placed restrictions on wakesports boats. The proposal would have disallowed wakes taller than 24” within 1,000 feet from shore on seven lakes in southern Idaho including Payette Lake and Cascade Lake.

NMMA, the Personal Watercraft Industry Association and the Watersports Industry Association spoke opposing the measure at two public hearings. In addition to wakesports boats, the proposed ordinances would have pushed personal watercraft more than 300 feet from shore.

Supporters of the restrictions said that the wakes from the boats were causing erosion, turbidity, user conflict and dock damage. According to an NMMA statement, “the wake boat industry provided studies showing that wake boaters operating more than 200 feet offshore do not damage shorelines or waterfront structures.”

More than 3,100 advocates signed an online petition opposing the ordinance, partly out of a concern that it would have a negative economic impact. In the statement, NMMA cited a 2016 Boise State University study that said that boating had the fourth largest economic impact of any Idaho county.

There has been an increase in proposed wake boat restrictions in the last couple of years. New Hampshire, Vermont and Oregon have similar bills under consideration in their legislatures and NMMA is monitoring their progress.

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