No-wake ordinance affects boaters during busy weekend - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

No-wake ordinance affects boaters during busy weekend


MADISON (WKOW)-- The weekend before the 4th of July is typically one of the busiest boating times of the years. This year it's expected to be slower on the Yahara chain of lakes with nearly all of them under a slow no-wake ordinance.

It's a problem many people never expected to see this Summer. After a record-breaking drought in 2012, we're now facing record-breaking lake levels.

"Last year it was so low all year that a lot of launches around here at the end of the year, we couldn't even get our boats in," fisherman Austin Ragotzkie says.

This year, it's tough to even drive around. With a no-wake ordinance in affect for Lake Monona, Waubesa, Kegonsa and Crystal, officials say boaters can't go any faster than five miles per hour.

"I understand most people are a little mad about it, but as a fishing standpoint I kind of like it," Ragotzkie says. "It keeps everyone from flying by you at 40-miles an hour when fishing. The lake stays calmer."

The only lake that isn't under the ordinance is Mendota. Making it a hot destination for boaters ahead of 4th of July.

"We expect more traffic on this lake," Dane County Sgt. John Brogan says. "People just don't like to go around slow for the most part."

Officials say a similar situation happened six years ago when all of the lakes were under a no-wake ordinance during Labor Day weekend. Back in 2000, a similar ordinance lasted more than two months on all five major lakes. This year water levels are even higher.

"If Lake Mendota keeps rising it may be on the no-wake also. We have to be flexible with what the water tosses at us," Brogan says.

The slow no-wake ordinance will last through the 4th of July. That means it will affect boaters during the Rhythm and Booms fire works show. Officials will be out in full force patrolling lakes Mendota and Monona during Wednesday night's fireworks display.

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