In case you missed the Lake Maxinkuckee Association (LMA) presentation earlier this month, Captain Neal Wallace spoke about boating rules and regulations, and I spoke about the environmental impacts of boats.  There was good conversation and I think everyone learned something. 

Environmental Impacts of Motorized Watercrafts

From an environmental perspective, motorized watercrafts can have multiple negative impacts on the water clarity, water quality, the shoreline, aquatic plants and fish/wildlife. 

Most impacts of boats are exhibited in shallow-water, near-shore areas.

It’s no secret that boats churn up the sediment from the bottom of the lake.  The turbidity, or how clear the water is, changes after a weekend of heavy boat traffic.  One damaging issue from this disturbance of the lake bottom is the release of nutrients stored in the sediment, which in turn causes increased algae growth. 

Heavy boat activity also causes extreme wave action, which can cause significant damage to shorelines.  When a property owner begins to see damage to their shoreline, a knee-jerk reaction is to build a concrete seawall for protection.  However, installing a hard barrier only intensifies wave action and actually ends up doing harm to the lake.  Glacial stone seawalls or natural shorelines are a better choice for the health of the lake.

“The environment is where we all meet; where we all have a mutual interest; it is the one thing all of us share.”

~ Lady Bird Johnson

The best way to enjoy the lake AND be a good steward is to minimize the size and intensity of the waves hitting the shore.  The way to do that is:  

  • Make NO WAKE inside the buoys – Some boats still create a wake even at 10 mph.  If you are making a wake while inside the buoys, slow down! 
  • You are only allowed to be driving inside the buoys for docking purposes.  THIS APPLIES TO JET SKIS!
  • Keep your fast boating in the deep water.  Traditional fast boats should be a minimum of 200’ from shore and wave boats should be 500’ from shore*. 

*BoatGeneratedWakeWaveReport_Feb12022_Final.pdf (

Wave boats are not REQUIRED to be 500’ from shore, but this new study shows that in order to prevent damage to the shoreline,
they SHOULD BE. And you get better waves in the deep water anyway!

Lake Maxinkuckee Association (LMA) is distributing a cool map with suggested surfing lanes marked. You can pick one up at the marina or from Lake Patrol.

The lake is enjoyed by many different people in a variety of ways – fishing, swimming, paddleboarding, sailing as well as skiing and wave/wake surfing.  It is also home to a multitude of fish, plants and wildlife. 

For the sake of the lake, minimize your wake!