Should county raise “no wake” level?

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Greg Peck
June 26, 2013

When the Rock County Board meets at 6 p.m. Thursday, it will consider changes to the “no wake” ordinance it adopted just a year ago. On Monday the board’s public safety and justice committee agreed to recommend dividing the river into three parts instead of two and raising the “no wake” trigger in the section from the Beloit-Rock Townline Road bridge south to the state line from 6.5 to 8.5 feet, based on the gauge in Afton. The midsection north of that bridge to the Indianford Dam would remain at 6.5 feet, based on the Afton gauge. The run above Indianford would remain at 7.5 feet, based on the gauge on Lake Koshkonong near Newville.

That will appease frustrated boaters in the Beloit area who have complained to the sheriff’s office, which has been policing a “no wake” order since spring flooding. It won’t, however, thrill the boaters above Indianford, who want quicker access to Newville and Lake Koshkonong.

Here’s the thing. Sometimes boaters are their own worst enemies. Take a fast boat and mix in a little alcohol, and inconsideration is the result. A former co-worker once told me of taking his family, including children, by boat to watch the Fourth of July fireworks in Janesville. Going to see a community’s fireworks by boat is a tradition for many enthusiasts up and down the river. Returning home upriver, however, so many bigger, faster boats ripped by my co-worker’s craft that he feared it would roll over. He said he’d never make such a trip again.

Of course, as everyone knows after watching it rain for most of the last week, even if the board agrees to the committee’s recommendations, it won’t make a difference for river boating anytime soon. As we reported today, river levels in the county are again expected to breach flood stage next week.

So any change the board makes this week will be for the future pleasure of boating. But should the board make the change? We’ll share our perspectives in our editorial Thursday.

Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or gpeck@gazettextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook

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