Respecting other boaters/houseboats

#1
The Lake Powell experience is ironic in that it is a huge area that can feel very small when people don't respect others. I try to use common courtesy, but I do have some gaps in my knowledge/experience. I have a 17.5 foot fishing/pleasure boat. Not a wake boat.
1) does my wake effect a houseboat under power when I am passing or meeting them in the main channel? They seem so huge, I assume not as long as I respect the 150 foot rule. I've never been on one, so I don't know.
2) is it kosher to pull in behind another boat at a safe distance, like as far back as possible but to still get a smoother ride from (I don't know what to call it, but the smooth water between the wakes) or is that just annoying or creepy or bad manners? I do this but don't see anyone else doing it.
3) how far past a motionless boat should I go before hitting the gas to avoid rocking their boat? Just past? Does the wake go significantly backwards as well as to the side?
4) when I power down passing a motionless boat at a safe distance, between truly wake- less and on-plane, the stern digs in and causes a bigger wake than on plane, despite working with the trim. Sometimes I think this is worse than planing up but I do it anyway to go slow (5-10 mph) but faster than a true wake less speed(<3 mph)
5) any other tips, besides the basic "try not to be a di*k"?
 

Pegasus

Well-Known Member
#2
My answers below:

The Lake Powell experience is ironic in that it is a huge area that can feel very small when people don't respect others. I try to use common courtesy, but I do have some gaps in my knowledge/experience. I have a 17.5 foot fishing/pleasure boat. Not a wake boat.
1) does my wake effect a houseboat under power when I am passing or meeting them in the main channel? They seem so huge, I assume not as long as I respect the 150 foot rule. I've never been on one, so I don't know.

A: A 17.5’ boat passing a houseboat on plane at +150 ft should not cause much concern to the houseboat, if any. I’d use 150’ as a minimum though, stay 300 away where possible.

2) is it kosher to pull in behind another boat at a safe distance, like as far back as possible but to still get a smoother ride from (I don't know what to call it, but the smooth water between the wakes) or is that just annoying or creepy or bad manners? I do this but don't see anyone else doing it.

A: I see many people do this at Lake Powell, especially heading back from Rainbow Bridge when the wind comes up. I don’t like it done to me if I’m the front boat, but I believe it’s legal if you stay the legal distance back. The key is to stay as far back as possible while still having the benefit of the situation, and always be paying attention – what if the boat in front stops suddenly and you are looking at the scenery? At 300 ft back doing 35, you are only a couple of seconds behind the other boat if it stops. And NEVER do this to a boat pulling tubers!!!! I see this often and have had it done to me while pulling tubers. What if someone falls off the tube and you are heading right for the child? This is not acceptable EVER. So my answer is it’s legal, but I don’t recommend doing it.


3) how far past a motionless boat should I go before hitting the gas to avoid rocking their boat? Just past? Does the wake go significantly backwards as well as to the side?

A: once you get even with the standing boat, you should be good to power up. Once you learn your wake, you can even power up sooner, but to be safe, even is a good rule of thumb.


4) when I power down passing a motionless boat at a safe distance, between truly wake- less and on-plane, the stern digs in and causes a bigger wake than on plane, despite working with the trim. Sometimes I think this is worse than planing up but I do it anyway to go slow (5-10 mph) but faster than a true wake less speed(<3 mph)

A:This one is easy – slow down all the way to wakeless until you pass the boat. You are correct that semi-slowing down is worse than being on full plane. If you are at a safe AND legal distance, don’t slow down at all.


5) any other tips, besides the basic "try not to be a di*k"?

A: It’s great that you are asking yourself these questions. My first boat was a 17’ Bayliner – I learned a lot in that boat regarding how other big boat (defined here at >25’) wakes impacted me significantly where the other big boat driver I’m sure didn’t think that they were causing me grief. Now, with a bigger boat, I try to respect all boats, but especially how my wake and actions impact smaller boats. The only tip I’d suggest is that you teach others the respect that you seem to have for others on the water – I hope it’s contagious!
 
#3
Thank you for your thorough reply! (and I agree 100% about being aware/careful/not following a boat with tubers. I stay far away, partly because they are unpredictable in their manuverings)
 

BartsPlace

Moderator
Staff member
#4
I’d use 150’ as a minimum though, stay 300 away where possible.
This! Many people confuse the 150' minimum safe/legal distance with their target distance. If you can do 300 feet, by all means, do 300 feet! This alone solves many of the problems involving wake.

I'm probably old and jaded (and I'm usually on the more sane end of the lake) but I have much fewer complaints about actual boat owners than I do about boat renters. I feel like boat owners generally want to be part of a community of mutual respect. I find that every time I want to shout at a boat driver, it's a blue-topped Triumph rental. Of course, there are always exceptions and YMMV.

My feelings on the rest of the questions align mostly with what @Pegasus has already stated. On question 3, if you're going to create a wake (ramp up to cruising speed), the 150' rule still applies. Thanks for being aware enough of others to ponder these topics!
 

Waterbaby

Moderator
Staff member
#5
Re the affect on passing a houseboat depends on the boat you're driving. A 17.5 flat bottom, or a tri-tune leaves a very small wake, while the tour boat and other large deep V like them have a major affect on houseboats and they set off a rolling motion that seems to last forever and ever and in the narrower parts of the lake very difficult for the driver of the houseboat to take evasive action - especially if in a high traffic area of the lake or through the narrows. A lot of it is courtesy and common sense.
 
#6
Just one thought having had boats from 15ft to 34ft - the smaller the boat, the easier it is to go on / off plane. When your doing well to get 1 mpg it starts to get annoying to have to power up / power down for every boat you pass. Lake Powell is a big lake full of all sizes of boats. Big boats make big waves. Be polite and be aware - I think that's what everyone expects.
 
Top