Wakeboarders anger Savannah River residents

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Dick Fox has nothing against waves -- except when they're rocking his dock.

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A wakeboarder makes his way down the Savannah River near downtown Augusta. Many residents along the river have noticed problems from an increasing number of wakeboarders. They say the waves generated by the boats are damaging their docks.  Michael Holahan/Staff
Michael Holahan/Staff
A wakeboarder makes his way down the Savannah River near downtown Augusta. Many residents along the river have noticed problems from an increasing number of wakeboarders. They say the waves generated by the boats are damaging their docks.

"It's terrible this year," said Mr. Fox, who lives in Waters Edge subdivision along the Savannah River, where wakeboarding and similar activities have increased dramatically.

The narrow channel is accommodating more boat traffic, especially with so many new subdivisions in the area, he said.

Wakeboarders, in particular, are creating dangerous waves that have damaged docks.

"It's not a new problem," Mr. Fox said. "But it has increased."

Frank Carl, the chairman of the Augusta Port Authority, said "no wake" rules should apply in developed areas of the river, including along Waters Edge above the Fifth Street bridge.

"Wakeboarding should not even be legal up there because of so many docks and boats," Dr. Carl said. "The whole idea is to avoid damage to the boats."

On Thursday, the authority approved a new "no wake" designation for the Waters Edge area, and it is trying to find someone willing to place and maintain "no wake" buoys in the area, Dr. Carl said.

Regardless of signs or buoys, state laws require boaters and wakeboarders to stay at least 100 feet from a dock, said Georgia Wildlife Resources Division Sgt. Mark Padgett.

"The 100-foot rule also applies to swimmers or people in the water," he said. "Also, people are responsible for their wake. If it causes any kind of damage, people can recover through civil action."

The bottom line, Sgt. Padgett said, is that everyone needs to recognize that the slender river channel is being used by more people.

"The Savannah River is a very confined space, not like a huge lake," he said. "If people can be courteous and watch for everyone else on the water, we would have fewer problems."

Mike Stacy, the operator of the Augusta Riverwalk Marina, said wakeboarding is a popular and fun pastime that, if done in the wrong places, is destructive.

Wakeboarders who use the populated part of the river, he said, are probably beginners who don't know the damage they cause.

"A lot of people don't realize those boats can make four-foot waves," he said. "They do a lot of damage to our docks, especially the old ones at Riverfront Marina."

Though the river is narrow, there are plenty of opportunities to wakeboard, he said.

"What they should do is go two miles south of Augusta, where there are fewer boats and docks and houses," he said. "They have eight open miles of river down to the (New Savannah Bluff) lock and dam."

Dr. Carl said the annual Neptune Dive and Ski Open Wakeboard Tournament will take place July 25 in the Boathouse area, which will require advisories to be sent. Previous events were held at Thurmond Lake, he said.

The Boathouse area, where the Southern Nationals dragboat races are held, is several miles downstream from Waters Edge but still includes many private and public docks.

"For this upcoming contest, we've actually advised people docked at the slips in the lower marina to move their boats for the day of the contest," he said.

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

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redapples
657
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redapples 06/23/09 - 03:43 am
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If residents are unhappy with

If residents are unhappy with the wakeboarders then they should be willing to put up the money for the buoys or shut up complaining.

SCGAL53
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SCGAL53 06/23/09 - 06:38 am
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redapple- another solution-

redapple- another solution- wakeboarders could show some courtesy and respect for others property.

omnomnom
3964
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omnomnom 06/23/09 - 06:57 am
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savannah river residents

savannah river residents anger me. millions of dollars spend on those mcmansions, and they all look like they belong in that weirdo gypsy camp in clearwater. personally, i agree with redapples. scgal, most people probably dont realize they're causing damage (i wouldn't've)

giwi
101
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giwi 06/23/09 - 08:13 am
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Clark Hill residents for a

Clark Hill residents for a long time had been without water at our docks due to the drought as well as water being let out for the Savannah River. Let's help out the Savannah River residents who complain about their docks--NO WATER to be let out of the dam. Then they do not have to worry about their docks or the wakeboarders!

Riverman1
79581
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Riverman1 06/23/09 - 08:40 am
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Giwi, that's funny, but the

Giwi, that's funny, but the law says creating wakes that can damage docks is illegal. The law should be enforced. This reminds me of a controversy years ago on the coast with dune buggies using the sand dunes in the winter months. They claimed they did no harm, but after running over more than a few wintertime beach strollers and destroying the sea oats and dunes, they were outlawed.

corgimom
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corgimom 06/23/09 - 08:53 am
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Why should some people be

Why should some people be denied the right to wakeboard because some others put private docks in the river? Why do the dockowners have more rights than anyone else? Do they own the river?

ditchdoc7
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ditchdoc7 06/23/09 - 09:20 am
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As with most issues that

As with most issues that people complain about, in time, this will be forgotten. This article seems to be bias and one-sided as it does not offer an objective point of view. If you choose to live near the train tracks, you complain about the noise; you build in a flood plain, you complain about getting flooded; you live in rural area, you complain about response times for emergency services. My point is that everyone has a choice and there is sometimes a price attached to those choices. Mr. Fox and Mr. Carl should understand this and should not single out "wakeboarders" as the sole cause for "damage" to the docks when there are other factors to consider. Examples include, other large vessels, the river "draw-down" a few years ago, acts of nature (floods). As mentioned in the article, the law is very clear and if a vessel on the river is violating this law and causing damage, then the property owner should take civil action against that individual.

ditchdoc7
8
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ditchdoc7 06/23/09 - 09:21 am
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The river is not solely own

The river is not solely own by anyone, it is a shared water way to be used by all. With that being said, there is consideration that needs to be adhered to on both sides. Vessels (not just wakeboarders) should be mindful of their wakes, just as property owners should understand that there is something known as “acceptable risk” for living on the river and other reason for possible dock damage.

2 B JUST ME
0
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2 B JUST ME 06/23/09 - 10:09 am
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Watch what you ask for is

Watch what you ask for is what i think. City wanted the River front used and now that it is, the residents are complaining. I'm with giwi about damming the dam. lol. We as home owners on the high side of the dam have had to replace broken docks and damaged boats and equipment. They are no better then us. All of them problem rode on the lake before they build down there and laughted at us because they were rocking our docks.

NOSWEATJO
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NOSWEATJO 06/23/09 - 10:48 am
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Being a resident of the lake

Being a resident of the lake i understand my dock is going to hit by wakes. I don't just blame wakeboarders. There are at 10 wakeboard boats in the cove i live in every weekend but i am not complaining about my dock. Tubers and other boats cuting up making circles in the cove shake my dock just as much as any wakeboard boat does. It is just part of living on the water. Quit complaining.

soccerfan
18
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soccerfan 06/23/09 - 11:02 am
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Amen NoSweatJo. If they

Amen NoSweatJo. If they really valued their boat then they would not be storing it in the water all the time to begin with. They can take their boat out of the water when its not in use just like I do.

emergencyfan
0
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emergencyfan 06/23/09 - 11:26 am
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People seem to think being on

People seem to think being on the river is a free pass to do whatever they want. I see people at night running w/o lights, jetskiers playing chicken with each other, young kids driving jetskis, people running their powerboats at full speed under bridges, by docks, kayakers, and canoers. Just because you're not in a car doesn't mean you don't have to follow the laws. NOSWEAT, would you complain about people drag-racing on your street or is that just part of living by a road? Some of these people scare the heck out of me. I wish rangers would patrol our area. Law enforcement could make a nice chunck of change just by ticketing these folks, AND make the river a whole lot safer for the rest of us at the same time.

M-Johnson
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M-Johnson 06/23/09 - 11:59 am
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IM sorry........ to the guy

IM sorry........ to the guy who's house i hit yesterday while golfing on the course... but you live on a golf course you can expect it will happen. IM sorry to the dock i rocked the day before.... but you live on a popular water way.... you should expect your dock will rock.
now also on that same note. dock owner. you do not own the water. you only own a house on the water. you do not have the right to have a dock. u have the privilege to have one. you do not have to keep your boats in the water. You chose to. Also as far as this story. the boat you pictured is a ski boat......... its not a wakeboard boat. a ski boat is designed to not make much of a wake at all. IM sorry im not rich. i cant afford water front property... But i do know that if i did i have to understand that people are gonna play in the water.

M-Johnson
0
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M-Johnson 06/23/09 - 12:03 pm
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I mean seriously...... Who do

I mean seriously...... Who do you think you are..... I know money talks and its only rich people who can afford to live on the river in there million dollar homes. No matter where you live there is gonna be something. I live in the country. i really dont like to hear gun shots every 5 mins during hunting season. but there are lots of woods near me...... I can expect that if i get tired of it i should move. I think all this is crap crap crap......... GET A FREAKING LIFE.
you apply for a permit to HAVE a dock. NOT to own a dock OR to keep your boat in the water. IF your boat gets damaged its your own fault for leaving it in the water.

M-Johnson
0
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M-Johnson 06/23/09 - 12:06 pm
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ALSO..... to the person

ALSO..... to the person complaining..... real wakeboards know the deal.... we dont ride up next to houses. we dont try to trash your stuff. NOW as for these want to be people like you who see us riding and decide to try... who knows what you will do. what about the tubers who make s turns and circles.... we go in a straight line trying to keep every thing good for the rider behind.

RiverRider
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RiverRider 06/23/09 - 12:19 pm
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Really is that all you have

Really is that all you have to do? We don't complain about ya'll on your pontoon boats cutting us off. What you don't realize is that SCDNR patrols the river regular in a metal boat. If you really want to protect your boat you would get a lift or pull it out of the water. I think it dumb to make a no wake from 5th St up. Complain about the half sunken house boat of your neighbor's. I believe it has done more damage to the river with its leaking fuel and oil into it.

RiverRider
0
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RiverRider 06/23/09 - 12:22 pm
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By the way most of us

By the way most of us wakeboarders with the nice boats pay a huge chunk for their boats and are seasoned boaters.

M-Johnson
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M-Johnson 06/23/09 - 12:25 pm
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oh............ and i also

oh............ and i also kayak in the river and if the wakes are not big enough to nock me out of my kayak then well it cant do to much damage to your dock. and yes i put in and take out at north augusta boat landing where most riders ride. AND i remember a few years ago we had the GA games with the wakeboarding in the river.
and every day i ride the kids walking river walk get a good show.

we will just say i took second in the GA games and i ride a lot. to this day i have not seen a 4 foot tall wake. to the guy who owns that boat please give me a call so i can ride with you on tomorrow.

RiverRider
0
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RiverRider 06/23/09 - 12:47 pm
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don't you know the our wakes

don't you know the our wakes get bigger as they get farther away from the boat.... hahahahahahaha

SavRiverRider
0
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SavRiverRider 06/23/09 - 12:50 pm
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This article says docks and

This article says docks and boats have been damaged, what in the world does that mean. Those boats are being damaged by the suns uv rays and this 100 degree weather. If this is a big enough issue to be front page Metro lets see some proof where are these damage reports, show me some numbers. What kind of reporting is this. The 100 ft rule applies to swimmers or people in the water, excuse me but yesterday I went for a canoe ride on the river and was only 50 ft from Mr fox's dock I confess and need to be punshed. Yes we all need to be thoughtful but didn't the 2 river front cities try to develop the River to draw people, excuse them now, they finally acomplished something.

LisaB
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LisaB 06/23/09 - 12:54 pm
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First of all it needs to be

First of all it needs to be understood that any boat has a wake and if that boat has anybody in it, that wake is going to be bigger. This should not be directed at wakeboarders; there are skiers, tubers, kneeboarders, etc that enjoy the river. Notice I said "enjoy" the river. I have family members and co-workers that have lived on both the river and the lake and have had docks at both locations. I have never heard them complain about their dock being damaged, that's a chance you take by living on the water. Get over it, just as you enjoy the river by living by it and having a dock on it, some people enjoy it by participating in water sports. It is a PUBLIC waterway, it is not owned by the people that live on it's banks. That is why you have to pay for a dock permit. If you want to be able to control what goes on in the water that is in front of or behind your home that you have a dock on then by all means dig yourself a large pond and put a dock on it.

gnx
7
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gnx 06/23/09 - 01:06 pm
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Riverrider - amen to your

Riverrider - amen to your 12:19. If those home owners were seriously concerned about their docks and boats they'd have installed lifts and built docks that could stand up to a wake or two. If you're going to live on a waterway you should understand tranquil waters aren't guaranteed and plan your site accordingly.

SavRiverRider
0
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SavRiverRider 06/23/09 - 01:16 pm
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I notice in the picture these

I notice in the picture these houses have thousands of dollars of Rip-Rap down to the water ,looks like they were gettig prepared for something,maybe they should have prepared for there boat bumping into there dock.Wakeboarding should not be legal up there because of so many docks and boats? No, maybe docks should not be legal on the Beauitful Savannah. Eliminate the docks and you eliminate the whole problem.Oh by the way your next complaint will be about your next door neighbor being so close . Just my opinion but why not a little less house and a lot more yard. You know you don't know how to get along with people.

Spackler
0
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Spackler 06/23/09 - 01:24 pm
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If you have a dock on the

If you have a dock on the lake or the river, it should be capable of handling the water conditions including waves created by boats operating within the law. i.e. 100ft minimum safety distance. If it cannot, the structural problems of the dock should be corrected or it should be removed. Boaters are responsible for their wake and should also use common sense around small water craft.

NOSWEATJO
0
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NOSWEATJO 06/23/09 - 01:34 pm
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to emergencyfan this article

to emergencyfan this article was pointed straight at wake boarders. It was making them look as there the only one on river that has a wake that shakes docks. There is no law saying wakeboarders can not wakeboard on the river. this article didn't say nothing about jet skiers playing chicken. on monday there was a article in the metro(adaptive aquatics program gets families out on the water) the main picture was taken behind a wakeboard boat that belongs to me. So this a should not be pointed at wakeboarders only. We are good people too.

ditchdoc7
8
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ditchdoc7 06/23/09 - 01:46 pm
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As a follow up to my last

As a follow up to my last post on this subject, I invite the reporter of this article (or any other news media) to take a ride on one of these boats that is cited. (A true wakeboard boat). I will be more than glad to show this reporter that when operated correctly with the boats manufacture recommendations and obeying all state laws, the wake generated at the homeowners dock is not significant enough to cause damage. This can be easily proved by referencing the documentation of the docks. Do I denounce the fact that the homeowners’ docks are being damaged? No. When temperatures are up and you get a busy weekend on the river, then you should expect a higher amount of boat traffic, hence where I believe the real issue lies.

ditchdoc7
8
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ditchdoc7 06/23/09 - 01:46 pm
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But as stated previously, to

But as stated previously, to single out a group without even researching the accused, is bias and unfounded. Even the picture that is portrayed is not a wakeboard boat. It is a ski boat that happens to be pulling a wakeboarder. On a different note, how many complaints do you think that the Army Corp of Engineers received when there docks and boats were sitting on the ground when the lake level dropped. Hmmm. To make another point, there are buoys in front of River North residences’ citing a no wake zone.

M-Johnson
0
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M-Johnson 06/23/09 - 04:06 pm
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after reexamining the

after reexamining the pic......... I see what you mean..... that wake is huge.... I see at its highest point its at the guys shoulders... that would be that 4 feet high wake you was talking about right... no but really it that wake is an ankle biter. People always seem to have something stupid to complain about.

Riverkeeper1
0
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Riverkeeper1 06/23/09 - 04:22 pm
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To Borrow an outskirt from

To Borrow an outskirt from Saturday Night Live (Seth Myers) REALLY???

Homeowners complaining about waves destroying their docks? It’s a freaking dock, it is built and designed to be in the water with waves…..Really

Homeowners bought their homes by the river; do they expect that no one will be using the river in boats? Really

You have top leaders in downtown Augusta trying everyday to prompt economic development of the river and you fire off comments like this? Really

You have the audacity to single out “wakeboarders” as the primary cause for your complaint when you probably have never even been on a wakeboard boat?...Really

A four foot wake, Really I would like to see one of these boats that navigate the Savannah River produce a four foot wake. Really…You must think that you are in the Ocean.

Riverkeeper1
0
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Riverkeeper1 06/23/09 - 04:22 pm
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The Augusta Port Authority

The Augusta Port Authority approved a “new” no-wake zone designation for “Waters Edge” outside the one that is already there and has been for years??? Really? This must be different than the already in place State Law that covers this….Really….

Mike Stacy says that Wakeboarding is a popular and fun past time that if done in the wrong places is destructive? Really… So is landing a plane… that’s why they use airports…..Really

And Mike, you really knowledgeable in wakeboarding..Really? I guess that’s you in disguise throwing double backrolls, and front flips…Really….

It was said that the Savannah River is a very confined space, not like a huge lake….Really, Guess that’s why it’s called a River uh?

It was stated in the article that wakeboarding should not even be legal up there because of so many docks and boats…Really?? When there is two Wakeboard boats currently tied up to these docks….Really??

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