No wake zone extended near seawall

By Lee Peck - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - It's coming along, but there's still months of work left to be done on the new Lake Charles Marina. However, before the first boat ever docks the City Council members heard lots of reasons why the current wake zone needs to be extended.

"By having 500 feet, we're helping ourselves quiet a bit toward lack of liability toward damages and things like that and to lower the damages that are possible on our new marina," said Denver Kaufman, with the Lake Charles Civic Center.

Current state law mandates no wake zones within 300 feet of a public boat launch or docking facility. The longest of the three marina slips is 204 feet. That would extend the no wake zone to a distance just over 500 feet from the Lake Charles seawall.

"I know you have to make these things but you are taking away a lot of lake," said Lake Charles City Council President Dana Carl Jackson.

Proponents argue it's not limiting use, but promoting safer waterways.

"It's more of a safety issue. Really right in that proximity you can use it, you just have to slow down. No wake is about 6 miles per hour in most boats. That's what it is in Contraband Bayou. It is a 6mph speed limit, so to speak, in from the Lake Charles Port all the way up. It's something similar to that. People still use Contraband Bayou every day. They just have to use it in a safe manner," said Ben Garber with the Lake Charles Power Squadron.

The no wake zone would be clearly marked by buoys. "I know we are passing a lot of ordinances and just like we pass ordinances - no dogs at the Civic Center - but they are walking all over without a leash. We keep passing ordinances but they are never enforced," said Jackson.

Four agencies would monitor and ticket violators including: The Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Marine division, State Wildlife and Fisheries, the Coast Guard and Lake Charles Police.

So though it won't be open until some time after the first of the year, boaters beware: the Lake Charles City Council unanimously approved amending the "no wake" zone near for the seawall to 500 feet.

The City of Lake Charles also sent a letter to residents with boat houses near that area explaining the new no wake zone and were met with no opposition.

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