General Information

Wake up and pay attention to those around you

OK, OK, we are all guilty making wake on the water when out boating. What we donít seem to realise is the impact we have on our fellow boaters.

In my long career on the water I have seen some major wash-ups, bust-ups and smack-ups including damage to boats and persons.

By law we each are responsible for our own boat wake, and if we cause damage to another boat or injury to other persons we are liable and can be prosecuted, fined. We must compensate the injured party, and could even be faced with civil action.

Your wake carries a long way and does not simply dissipate when hitting a shoreline. Nowhere is this more evident than in enclosed bodies of water such as St Georges Harbour, Hamilton Harbour and the Great Sound.

Late on a summerís day these areas become quite rough and confused as boats are speeding home to their moorings. This causes great danger to boats that are alongside a dock, rafted up or have swimmers close to their sides. Even unsecured objects onboard can fly from tables or decks by the creation of such mayhem.

This is particularly true when there is insufficient wind to break down the mechanically created waves.

During the events of the Americaís Cup it will be of utmost importance that boat wake is kept to a minimum especially anywhere in the Great Sound.

You will need to plan extra time if you are a flagged vessel to get to your designated anchorage area and be settled before the dayís racing takes place.

It would also be a shame if in the lighter airs when the racing boats cannot foil because they are challenged by a massive sloppy sea created by all of us.

The marshal boats, marine police and royal regiment vessels will all be out in force. Please heed their directions and comply with their instructions.

Remember that the racing is going to be televised in an operating time slot of less than two hours.

If the police have to chase after a boat making wake they too will be making a wake to catch them.

Next week: Anchoring for Novices.

ē Paul Doughty is a member of The Bermuda Water Safety Council, artist, professional sailing coach, RYA Powerboat Instructor, and a licensed Bermuda Pilot with more than 40 years experience.