There’s a reason for those ‘Slow/No Wake’ signs

How many of you have seen a “Slow/NoWake” sign around our community? Now, how many of you have seen a boat leaving a giant wake as it passes one of these signs?

It’s probably close to unanimous on both questions.

“Most folks come down, and they go in the boat, they have no regard for the wake behind them,” said Capt. Doug Messeck of DNREC’s Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police. “That wake can extend out several hundred yards, and it impacts the shoreline, boats on docks, swimmers...”

That doesn’t even include stand-up paddlers, who we see with more and more frequency over recent years, particularly along the Assawoman Canal.

South Bethany officials have taken the issue to heart, citing environmental concerns. They argue that churning the water erodes the shoreline, and also agitates the muddy layers of sediment and releases old, entrapped nutrients from the canal beds. Those nutrients can lead to algae blooms and reduced oxygen, which can cause fish kills.

“Each time the ‘slow/no wake’ is ignored, you are damaging the bulkheads; you are stirring up the muck on the bottom of the canals that pollutes our waters; you are impacting boats tied up and you are rocking the world of those canoeing, kayaking or fishing,” explained South Bethany Council Member Sue Callaway.

So, it’s not just being a “jerk” when you create a wake in one of these zones — it is damaging to the ecoculture, and potentially dangerous to other people trying to enjoy our waterways.

Relax. Take your time. Leave no wake behind.