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Alabama law banning wakesurfing

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  • Alabama law banning wakesurfing

    It’s happening. They are very close to banning wakesurfing on public lakes in Alabama. Unbelievable. If you listen to the interview in the first link below, it is alleged that a friend of a state senator said that wakesurfing is harmful and should be banned, and that’s where the bill originated. This is insane. It passed the state senate and is being carried in the house. If you live in Alabama please call/write your house representative and let them know that a ban is not the way to address this issue. Please and thank you.

    https://yellowhammernews.com/rep-gin...-on-the-issue/

    http://alisondb.legislature.state.al.../SB281-int.pdf

    https://www.senatorgudger.com/

  • #2
    The bill is not banning completely but limiting the distance from shoreline/docks to 200ft. Although, maybe they would use this bill to eventually ban altogether. Unfortunate, considering we just bought a surf boat. We boat on smith lake and I know they don’t like wake surfers on smith lake, or at least that’s what it seems like based on the Facebook page.

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    • #3
      Yeah my brother has a house on Smith and this would technically affect only smaller sloughs and coves. But it just seems very open to interpretation/abuse from water patrol, which gives them one more reason to pull wakeboats over. At the end of the day, a handful of ignorant and/or self-centered boaters are causing it to come to legislation, which is never a good thing.

      And yeah, that FB group for Smith Lake is full of wakeboat haters! LOL

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      • #4
        Unfortunately I have seen this day coming for a long time. There has always been tension between the watersports enthusiast and the fisherman the difference there was that neither was causing any real damage. That does not hold true with surfing. As mentioned above, it just takes a few ignorant boaters to hurt those who do it responsibly. Some dumba** came by the lake house last year in a G and sunk a buddies mud boat. It just takes the right persons boat getting sunk or dock getting destroyed to start pushing policy. If we want surfing to remain we are going to have to make sure we do our parts and use our common sense.
        Previous Boat- 1983 Stars and Stripes

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        • #5
          Unfortunately, this is a direct result of all the asshats that don't give a **** about other people's property and has become a necessary result.

          I wakesurf and I enjoy it. But, I don't wakesurf near the shore or other peoples boats. I make sure my wake has to travel across the lake to reach someone's dock.

          People are rightfully upset with the conduct of the boaters that don't care about other people.
          -Tim

          Making boomers great again!! Boomin'

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          • #6
            I've already emailed my State Rep (he happens to be a law partner of mine too). Here's what I said: "Please oppose this. I think the proposal makes it illegal to surf within 200 feet of a shoreline. I agree that surfing near a shoreline can cause damage to docks, boats and cause shoreline erosion. However, this damage is not limited to surf and wake boats. We are in a narrow slough and we get damaging waves from pontoons, cruisers, wakeboats and jet skis. The idiocy is not limited to wakeboats. I would rather the Marine Police enforce the current no wake zone rules for all boats before targeting a specific type of boat."


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            • #7
              The problem there is that most of those boats are not causing nearly as much damage. They are throwing wakes not waves. I enjoy surfing as many do but as said above, I make sure I am not causing harm to others as I know how annoying it can be from the flip side. There have been a few moments in the x14 where I have wanted to give some people the bird.
              Previous Boat- 1983 Stars and Stripes

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              • #8
                So, if you don't engage in any of the behaviors this bill is intended to prevent, what's the problem ? I can tell you from personal experience that the homeowners at the lake I go to think this is a major problem. I saw the owner of my boat storage facility (he lives on the lake) Sunday, this was the first thing he mentioned and he's happy they are doing something about it.

                In Georgia it's illegal to be on plane within 100ft of any fixed structure, boat, or person in the water outside of normal travel lanes so I don't Alabama's law is very restrictive at all.
                2000 Prostar 205V

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                • #9
                  I don't have a problem with the bill as it won't affect me. The problem is selective enforcement. I respectfully disagree with peytonvp that a 28 foot SeaRay not on a plane doesn't throw a "wave." It does, especially a notch or two above idle. I see if every day in my narrow slough. But those boats aren't pulled over, wake boats are. IF wake zone laws were enforced, we would not have this problem. Regardless of distance from a structure, it is a crime and civil violation to damage property with your wake. We don't need these laws, we need enforcement of existing laws.
                  Last edited by John Johnson; 03-21-2022, 01:03 PM. Reason: Changed to would not

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by John Johnson View Post
                    I've already emailed my State Rep (he happens to be a law partner of mine too). Here's what I said: "Please oppose this. I think the proposal makes it illegal to surf within 200 feet of a shoreline. I agree that surfing near a shoreline can cause damage to docks, boats and cause shoreline erosion. However, this damage is not limited to surf and wake boats. We are in a narrow slough and we get damaging waves from pontoons, cruisers, wakeboats and jet skis. The idiocy is not limited to wakeboats. I would rather the Marine Police enforce the current no wake zone rules for all boats before targeting a specific type of boat."

                    Exactly. It should apply to all boats.

                    "To operate a motorboat in a manner that creates a wake that is, or is intended to be, surfed by another person."

                    So as long as nobody is surfing or intending to surf your wave, have at it. Throw all the rollers you want.

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                    • #11
                      I wish somebody would remake this video for wakesurfers. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPZDEWBzneY

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                      • #12
                        I think wakeboats are being targeted because they literally are made to draw attention. I’ve seen just as many harmful and dangerous things done by I/Os and jet skis, but since they don’t have fancy graphics and a loud stereo system, they are pretty much ignored. It is pure ignorance to think wakeboats are the sole cause. A 20+ foot searay or bayliner full of people will throw an equally large wave/wake at 10mph. It may not peak or curl the same way, but it will do the same damage to docks/shorelines/other boats. “But it’s not a wakeboat and they’re not surfing” will be the excuse so no repercussions whatsoever and the problem never gets fixed.

                        Education is the solution, not legislation. As boats and watersports have changed drastically over the last 20 years, so must the requirements for acquiring a vessel operator license. The current boater safety course in Alabama is archaic.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by gwozhog View Post
                          i wish somebody would remake this video for wakesurfers. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xpzdewbzney
                          yesss!!!
                          Former: 2007 X15

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by John Johnson View Post
                            I don't have a problem with the bill as it won't affect me. The problem is selective enforcement. I respectfully disagree with peytonvp that a 28 foot SeaRay not on a plane doesn't throw a "wave." It does, especially a notch or two above idle. I see if every day in my narrow slough. But those boats aren't pulled over, wake boats are. IF wake zone laws were enforced, we would not have this problem. Regardless of distance from a structure, it is a crime and civil violation to damage property with your wake. We don't need these laws, we need enforcement of existing laws.
                            I disagree with myself if we are talking about large cabin cruisers or any other larger vessels. Where I boat those do not exist so I completely understand your point.
                            Previous Boat- 1983 Stars and Stripes

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by peytonvp View Post
                              The problem there is that most of those boats are not causing nearly as much damage. They are throwing wakes not waves. I enjoy surfing as many do but as said above, I make sure I am not causing harm to others as I know how annoying it can be from the flip side. There have been a few moments in the x14 where I have wanted to give some people the bird.
                              I second that. I'm sure ill sound like the "get off my lawn guy" but the wakes are becoming increasingly larger and larger. I don't dislike wakesurfing as an activity but drivers need to be aware of their wake. If I'm not careful and don't take those wakes at the correct angle I'll swamp my boat. Of course I encounter a big vessel wake here or there but these wakes are happening more frequently and it can put boats in compromised positions. As all of us know you are responsible for your wake so if you were to cause damage to someones dock you'd be liable.

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