TOWING WATER SPORTS: THE PROPER ETIQUETTE
Wakeboarders like myself get a bad reputation on Australia’s waterways. Many fishos and other water sports fanatics get irked by wakesurfing boats cutting up the waterways far too close to other people, creating huge swells and ruining the tranquillity of our waterways. I have heard similar arguments against water-skiers and tubers in the past and as an avid fisho too, I can sympathise with their frustrations.
Some of Australia’s waterways are packed with wakeboarders carving up the river or lake without a care in the world for kayak fishermen, or moored boats. They send them crashing against the dock and I have seen them almost send some poor blokes into the water on a capsized kayak. It can be incredibly dangerous. If everyone approached towing sports with a little more common-sense and decency, surely this whole debate can be resolved with some simple waterway etiquette?
MINIMISE YOUR WAKE WHEN CRUISING PAST OTHER BOATS
This sounds like the most obvious, but clearly many wakeboarders are failing to do this. If I am cruising past an anchored boat, kayak or canoe, slow down and reduce the wake even if this means coming off your plane. There is nothing more annoying than being anchored up and fishing with a cold one before being jolted back to reality by some yob throwing out ocean-sized swells.
ON CROWDED DAYS SHARE THE SPACE
If there is another waterskier or wakeboarder on the lake, the impulse is to head to another area of the lake. But it is far less disruptive to share the same space and take it in turns. This means that everyone will be releasing wakes in the same direction and there won’t be a series of swells in contrasting directions throwing everyone else, including the anglers, around their boats in all directions.
DON’T GET TOO CLOSE TO THE SHORE
If you are picking lines which graze the shore or come close to docks, your peak wave is going to end up crashing into any moored boats lined up along the dock or shoreline. Head to the deeper parts of the lake so the waves have dissipated by the time they reach the shoreline and any boats moored up along it.
Most of the issues with wakeboarders, tubers and water-skiers are that the towboater is watching the skier or tuber and not paying attention to the water around him. Aside from this being incredibly dangerous, it is also against the nautical rules of the road. The tower should really know the area before attempting to tow a skier or wakeboarder. If it’s possible, use a spotter to ensure the tower can focus on the waterway, while the skier, wakeboarder or tuber is being monitored.
What do you think? How can we all get along sharing our waterways? Join the conversation through the comments section below.