Head out onto the Grand River, however, and no-wake zones become as muddy as the water that flows through the piers and into Lake Michigan.
In some areas — such as from Grand Isle Marina downstream to Lake Michigan — nearly the entire section is no-wake, so the confusion in that stretch is minimal.
But head upriver, toward Pottawattomie Bayou or beyond to the gravel pits at the Bass River Recreation Area, and it’s nearly impossible do discern which stretches of water are open and which are no-wake zones.
Part of the confusion comes from the variety of ways the water is marked.
At some points, buoys anchored in the middle of the river proclaim an area as a no-wake zone. The problem is — depending on where you’ve launched your boat — it’s difficult to tell whether the buoy is marking the start or the end of a no-wake zone.
The confusion continues when individual property owners post no-wake signs on their dock or shoreline. Many of these look official, but are they?
Boaters shouldn’t have to play guessing games and risk having their day on the water ruined because of a pricey ticket for violating a no-wake zone. These areas should be clearly and consistently marked.
Maps at area boat launches with no-wake zones highlighted would be helpful. An easy-to-find, printable online map would also aid boaters.
Instead, a Google search only furthers confusion as to which stretches of the river are no-wake and which are not.
Boaters have enough to worry about — navigating through buoys marking shallow water and watching for other obstacles that might be floating down the river — to have to stress over where they can legally go fast.
Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung, Kevin Collier, Nick White and Liz Stuck. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to firstname.lastname@example.org or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.