“Over the last few years, we’ve had a lot of people with kayaks, canoes and paddleboards,” said John Grimes, who lives along the river in Grand Haven Township. “With very low currents, you’ve got a lot more people using the river in small boats.”
Grimes said these smaller vessels are competing with more powerful vessels that are speeding east along the river before reaching the no-wake zone at Pottawattomie Bayou.
The area of concern is a stretch from the Pottawattomie Bayou bridge west toward Robbins Road.
“There’s too many big boats and people with too much horsepower going way too fast,” Grimes said. “Your objective shouldn’t be to slalom through the boats at the same speed as if no boats were there.”
On days when boating on Lake Michigan is less than ideal, Grimes said there’s an influx of boats using the river — especially since vessels 26 feet or more in length are prohibited from exceeding the no-wake speed on Spring Lake.
“I can’t even sit by the river because I am constantly cringing,” Grimes said. “Too many people have died over the last 10 years due to idiotic people in boats.”
Roger Dubuc, a retired Coast Guard commander who also lives along the river in Grand Haven Township, is just as concerned about the safety of boaters as Grimes.
“I’ve seen more death and destruction than I care to remember,” Dubuc said. “Somebody is going to die, and it is just a matter of time.”
To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.