Conservation Training

A Field Study of Maximum Wave Height, Total Wave Energy, and Maximum Wave Power Produced by Four Recreational Boats on a Freshwater Lake

April 26, 2022

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Location: Online

In recent years, with the growth of recreational boating activities, there has been growing concern over boat-generated waves and propeller wash and their environmental impacts to lakes and rivers. The research reported here was motivated by a need to better understand the characteristics (i.e., height ,energy, and power) of wakes and waves produced by common recreational boats. Four boats were evaluated. Two of the boats were typical recreational boats (i.e., non-wakesurf) that are commonly used for tow sports like tubing, waterskiing, and wakeboarding, and the other two boats were wakesurf boats designed specifically for the sport of wakesurfing. Testing involved operating each boat at four distances from the shoreline (225 ft., 325 ft., 425 ft., and 625 ft.) under various conditions (e.g., speed, ballast weight, trim setting, etc.). The data show clear differences in wake wave characteristics between the non-wakesurf and wakesurf boats and can be used to inform boat operational distances necessary to attenuate wave heights, energies, and powers to levels deemed acceptable.