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Boating safety encouraged as large waves damage Wausau shoreline

Lake Wausau residents are asking wakesurfers to mind their distance to keep shorelines safe.
Published: Jul. 16, 2020 at 5:27 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) -Like any activity, there are people who obey the rules, and there are some who break them. For residents that live on Lake Wausau, broken rules can come in the form of eroding shoreline. A problem that they’ve been seeing with wake surfers who get too close to the shore.

“Those waves came, It actually broke the hinges on the dock,” Wausau resident Jim Campbell said.

Jim has lived on Lake Wausau for almost 20 years. With the increased traffic on the lakes, he’s letting bushes on his shoreline grow as large as possible since the rock wall he built was destroyed by the large waves.

“It causes them to roll off the shore and down into the lake. Aesthetically it doesn’t look very good. But it’s holding my shore together,” Campbell added.

But there are some wakeboarders and wake surfers like Joe Nagrant, who practice and teach safe boating practices.

“A lot of people don’t know about the right way and I try to share the right way with everyone if I get the chance,” Nagrant explained.

For those who don’t know the rules, Joe has some tips. One is that people go out farther than the mandatory 100 feet from shore, just to make sure the waves break apart.

“Just stay in the middle of it (the channel or river). Staying the 150 feet away is just the minimum,” Nagrant stated

“If all they did was move to the middle, by the time the waves hit the shore they would be dissipated,” Campbell added.

One thing that makes Lake Wausau desirable for surfers is the long straight stretch and the depth of the water. But Joe suggests switching up places to surf.

“Don’t have multiple passes back and forth in the same area. You want to try and spread it out between different areas,” Nagrant explained.

For Jim and others living on the shore, they want everyone to have fun and enjoy the lake. Just as long as they are being safe.

For a link to the DNR boating safety website, click here.

Copyright 2020 WSAW. All rights reserved.

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