The channel in downtown Grand Haven is not one of those places.
Everything from the pier heads upriver to well beyond the entrance to Spring Lake is no-wake, but you'd never know that judging by the way many large crafts navigate their way through those waters.
The channel can be a tricky place for vessels to navigate even on days when there isn’t much boat traffic. On windy days, it’s not uncommon for large, undulating waves to roll in off Lake Michigan and wreak havoc on the boats, especially small vessels, heading in and out of the channel.
Throw in a handful of 30-plus-foot boats cruising along a bit faster than they should be and the waves between the two breakwalls become downright treacherous.
That fact was illustrated a week ago, when a small boat sunk to the bottom of the channel after the wake of a passing boat washed over the sides. Fortunately, all aboard were rescued without incident.
Granted, the boat owner needs to take some responsibility and use proper judgment in deciding what waters are safe for a small boat and what waters are not.
But that doesn't excuse those drivers from blame who cruise along with giant swells issuing from behind their boats.
A common misconception is that going slow is the only rule boaters must follow when traveling through restricted zones. That's not the case. Any boat, from a 16-footer up to a those measuring 40 feet and longer, throw up quite a wake when they come down off plane, but don't slow down enough to settle entirely into the water.
The channel can be a difficult enough place to navigate without the added challenge of surfing over 4-foot waves coming from the wake of another boat.
When you enter a no-wake zone, slow down and watch your wake. If there’s more than a gentle ripple issuing from behind your boat, you’re going too fast.
Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung, Liz Stuck and Fred VandenBrand. 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.