The Dangers of Wake Boats on Shallow Waters
The Dangers of Wake Boats on Shallow Waters

The Dangers of Wake Boats on Shallow Waters

We all love a wake, but do we know the costs? There can be a bunch, depending on whether wake boats are used responsibly. Here we’ll just look at how wakes interact with the lake bottom, because wake boats can be really damaging to shallow lakes, and Lake Windermere is really really shallow!

So what’s all the fuss about? How can a wave be harmful? Well, below the surface, a lot more is going on than meets the eye. The sediment on lake beds often stores a lot of nasty things, like metals, pesticides and other chemicals. Thankfully, when they’re locked away in the lake bed, they are pretty harmless to the health of the lake. 

But, when wake boats are used on shallow lakes, the wake stirs up the sediment on the lake bed, throwing it up in a murky cloud and filling the lake with the contaminants it contains. These contaminants can be damaging to wildlife and can enter the water supply. 

Cloud of sediment stirred up by a wake boat. Image courtesy of Larratt Aquatic Consulting Ltd

Scientists are therefore now recommending that wake boats are not used until a depth of 8m. Sadly, the depth of Lake Windermere is only about 6m at its deepest point, and only about 3-4m on average!

But that’s not all! The wake ‘bouncing’ off the bottom of the lake also means your wave won’t be as nicely shaped: it’s for this reason that wake boat manufacturers also recommend keeping your wakes to waters deeper than 8m!

So, what to do? Well, if you need your wake fix, please do it on deeper lakes, where your wave will be all the sweeter and won’t damage the lake bed and contaminate the water!



  1. Eddie & Lynn Jacobs

    We totally agree with trying to stop the Wake Boarding on our lake…will agree to any recommendation that is proposed…
    Sorry we won’t be there for the meeting this year..

  2. irene

    I’ve seen some close calls with children swimming close to their property with a boat whipping by and causing a dangerous wake. Also we get bounced around quite often when on the canoe and kayaks. We now need to enjoy our own water sports early in the morning when the big boats are not out yet. Would be nice to be out there in the middle of the day like everyone else.
    Also concerned about the change to the water since I moved in several years ago. Worried that one day nobody will be able to swim in this beautiful water.

  3. John Stadtlander

    On Lake. Rosalind Midwestern Ontario.We are working at present to try to discourage these boats on the lake.We have sent out a survey and the results are very overwhelming and in fa.vour to discourage these boats

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