Homeowners on Savannah River had to move buoys

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The hotter the weather, the more boats you'll see buzzing along the Savannah River, especially near downtown Augusta and North Augusta.

Some residents in North Augusta's Campbell Town Landing put buoys on the Savannah River because boats rocked their docks. The U.S. Coast Guard wanted them removed or relocated.   Special
Special
Some residents in North Augusta's Campbell Town Landing put buoys on the Savannah River because boats rocked their docks. The U.S. Coast Guard wanted them removed or relocated.
Video: Augusta Outdoors
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Some residents in Campbell Town Landing got fed up with all those passing boats rocking their docks -- and decided to do something about it.

Last weekend, a zig-zagging line of "no wake" buoys appeared in the river, not far from the center channel. They were more than simple floats, and some were anchored with chains and concrete.

The intent, one neighbor told me, was to keep boat traffic away from their homes and docks and route them closer to the Georgia side.

The problem, though, is that the river is a public waterway and owning a house overlooking that water doesn't come with the right to block any portion of it, according to the U.S. Coast Guard, which ordered the barriers removed or relocated.

"I could sympathize with people who just got tired of boats rocking because of the wake, but you can't take that into your own hands and just willy nilly start putting markers out there," said John VanOsdol, an officer in the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.

Under maritime law, the river channel from Clarks Hill Dam to the coast is a navigable waterway under Coast Guard jurisdiction, even if there is no permanent station or patrol boat in this area.

Although the markers might slow or discourage boat traffic near the houses, they could also contribute to accidents if a boat or skier collided with or became entangled in one. Neighbors who did not want the markers also voiced concerns that rowing teams typically face backwards and might hit the markers, or would have to zig-zag around them.

Chief Boatswain's Mate Eric Dieckmann, the officer in charge of the Tybee Island Aids to Navigation Team, said in an e-mail Friday that the buoys were in the process of being removed.

"I have talked to the people responsible for putting out the no wake buoys," he said. "They promised me they would move the buoys out of the channel and put them closer to boat docks."

By Friday evening, most of the markers had been removed.

BAURLE RAMP: There might have been some delays in the long awaited expansion of the Bob Baurle boat ramp below New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam, but Richmond County officials say it is almost finished -- and could reopen by Aug. 12 if all goes well.

Ron Houck, the planning and development manager for Richmond County's Recreation, Parks & Facilities Department, said final paving will begin this coming week, with placement of grass and The Baurle ramp is one of few places offering access to the lower Savannah River. It was closed last winter to allow workers to expand the site, using a 2007 matching grant from then-Gov. Sonny Perdue's "Go Fish Georgia" initiative.

The city's $270,000 grant was matched with municipal funding and some in-kind credits for nearby land, which brought the total project cost to about $500,000.

BUCKARAMA TIME: Georgia Wildlife Federation's annual Buckarama will be held Friday through Sunday at the Atlanta Expo Center North, I-285 South at Exit 55, Jonesboro Road, Atlanta.

This year, the programs include retriever demonstrations, snake shows from the Southeastern Reptile Rescue and demonstrations by the Georgia Falconry Association, in addition to vendors and exhibitors. The event also includes the 2011 Deer Head Competition with Boone & Crockett certified scorers.

Admission is $8, or $5 for seniors and youths 6-12, with children 5 and under admitted free. For more details, visit www.gwf.org.

Reach Rob Pavey at (706) 868-1222, ext. 119 or rob.pavey@augustachronicle.com.

Comments (14) Add comment
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Crime Reports and Rewards TV
33
Points
Crime Reports and Rewards TV 07/31/11 - 12:45 pm
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0
They need to send a BILL to

They need to send a BILL to the Wakeboarders. Their boats are specially outfitted to roll huge monster waves for jumping & these houses & docks were never built for that. The DNR won't do their duty and ticket these destroyer boats so the taxpayers suffer great damages...
again.

Little Lamb
49245
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Little Lamb 07/31/11 - 01:09 pm
0
0
To Crime Reports: What state

To Crime Reports: What state law would the DNR use to issue a citation? If a private citizen puts up a STOP sign at an intersection near his house and a motorist runs the stop sign, should the police be able to issue a ticket based on a non-governmentally approved traffic device? No.

Then these privately-placed NO WAKE buoys have no standing other than being river litter.

Little Lamb
49245
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Little Lamb 07/31/11 - 01:20 pm
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So expanding a boat ramp cost

So expanding a boat ramp cost $500,000! I hope it looks pretty.

Crime Reports and Rewards TV
33
Points
Crime Reports and Rewards TV 07/31/11 - 03:07 pm
0
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"What state law would the DNR

"What state law would the DNR use to issue a citation?"

Wreckless boating. Public Endangerment. Disorderly Conduct.

The law is not about the buoys. The law is that any boater is responsible for the damage of their wake. Their wakes have racked up enormous damages. The DNR is not supposed to let this much damage happen They are derelict in their duties in this matter. We've sued and won every time. There is little defense from a video showing they did this.

scgator
1042
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scgator 07/31/11 - 03:30 pm
0
0
We live directly on the river

We live directly on the river (Carolina side), and have mixed feelings about the buoy issue. All it takes is a little bit of paying attention and you will notice that most of the irritating boaters dock on the Carolina side at private docks. It would seem more rational to identify the boats and the owner and file a complaint with the neighborhood association. I know the river is public access, but let's be reasonable; most of the boats I see speeding through the "no wake" zone down by the marina come from up river and not from across the river. There is one guy who routinely runs his jet ski 'tween the bridges, and NEVER slows down.

As for the "River Police", they are useless and a waste of taxpayers money. We see them running "well" above idle through the no wake zone. The ONLY time they come through here slow is when they are looking for boats with expired stickers. Recently (A Day in the Country) there was a pontoon boat in the middle of the river so overloaded, that the pontoons were barely visible at the water's surface, and the RP just motored on by them without so much as a second look.

My wife has asked me to buy her a new pontoon next year, but I will not even consider it until the floating keystone cops man up and do their job.

Little Lamb
49245
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Little Lamb 07/31/11 - 03:28 pm
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If a boater is responsible

If a boater is responsible for damage to property caused by his wake, then the remedy is in civil court. Let the first property owner who can document that he actually suffered monetary damages by a boater identify and sue the boater. The message will get around.

Rob Pavey
552
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Rob Pavey 08/01/11 - 10:06 am
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all of you make good points -

all of you make good points - but I think the real problem is the spiraling density of riverfront development. If shorelines were left natural, nature absorbs the waves. When people build lawns and docks, then they have an investment to protect, and the public river and its users become the enemy. If people want to live on the river they will have to tolerate its users. If they want to control the use of 'their' water, lots of subdivisions have private lakes under the homeowners' control. Similarly, though, there is no reason boaters cannot be more responsible and considerate, although I suspect the problems are caused by only a few.

Riverman1
94183
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Riverman1 08/01/11 - 10:22 am
0
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In Columbia County Betty's

In Columbia County Betty's Branch has signs placed by the county saying it's a no wake zone. It causes erosion of the banks and could block access to the ramp at Riverside School.

I also realize the water belongs to everyone. I have a neighbor who screams at airboats (which are very loud) at night when they are bow fishing. He claims it's a county ordinance that you can't make loud noises after 10 pm or something like that. But that's kind of like saying vehicles can't travel the highways at night.

Riverman1
94183
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Riverman1 08/01/11 - 10:20 am
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Rob, let me ask you, what

Rob, let me ask you, what about boats swamping other boats? Could you charge someone for causing another boat to capsize with the wake? On the TV show, Swamp People, they claimed the big boats on the Mississippi River were not allowed to cause wakes large enough to cause problems for those hunting alligators in small boats.

Rob Pavey
552
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Rob Pavey 08/01/11 - 11:05 am
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riverman, there used to be a

riverman, there used to be a saying that if you ever get lost in the woods or on the water, just tear up your hunting or fishing license and a game warden would magically appear. But the DNRs in both states have lost close to half their budget and manpower, so consistent enforcement is unlikely. Our waters are reverting to the old Wild West days - and it will be up to boaters to be considerate, and shoreline homeowners to be tolerant and mindful that there is a price (and a risk) when they develop all the way to the waterline.

M-Johnson
0
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M-Johnson 08/01/11 - 04:30 pm
0
0
Ok... so.... what I am seeing

Ok... so.... what I am seeing is.... If you have enough money to own property on the river you expect you also have enough money to make your own rules.... Well this is not the case.... The river is for boating.... just as the road in front of your house is for driving... if you leave something of yours in the road and it gets ran over.... it should not have been in the road... You have the privilege of having a dock and a boat in the river..... NOT a RIGHT ... If you dont want your boat rocked.. then take it out of the water......

You know.... I live in the country... Lots of woods around me.... I really dont like listening to all the gun fire from hunting all fall in winter... maybe I should go put up sound ordnance signs In all the woods near my house..... Im gonna guess at sun up I will still hear gun fire.......... HOHUM>>>>

M-Johnson
0
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M-Johnson 08/01/11 - 04:33 pm
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On a side note... The home

On a side note... The home owner really should do some repairs on them docks they own... floating debris from those deterioration docks could really hurt one of the wake boarders if they fall on it or even damage a boat.... This should surely be looked in to..... before someone gets hurt or killed....... The home owners really should take more responsibility for there docks and keep them up to snuff......

NAAustin
0
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NAAustin 08/03/11 - 02:49 am
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uncle kurt!

uncle kurt!

Tyler-Ray_Daddy
44
Points
Tyler-Ray_Daddy 08/05/11 - 07:51 am
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I spend a lot of time on the

I spend a lot of time on the river. I can understand dock owners being upset with boaters that cruise much to close to shore & especially the wake boarders within boats manufactured to make an extremely large wake. It is not so much about a dock rocking; it is more about an expensive docked boat being slammed against the dock or riding high over protective buoys because of extremely high wakes from wake boarders. There are many vacant shoreline areas along the river; wake boaters should be more considerate and avoid congested areas.

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