Letter to the Editor: No Wake Please!



Summer is right around the corner and the downtown riverfront is seeing a resurgence of activity in kayaking and standup paddleboarding. All these watercraft are non-powered and have the right of way over powered watercraft. Most of these non-powered drivers are inexperienced watermen and many are kids just having fun on Cane River Lake.

The downtown stretch of Cane River from approximately Maglieaux’s Riverfront Restaurant to the Harrington Law Firm is a NO WAKE zone. That means NO WAKE, not just slowing down to what we, individually, believe to be an OK speed to navigate this stretch of river. About 50% of boat traffic entering this NO WAKE zone slows to idle speed and complies with the NO WAKE rule.

About half of the other 50% are courteous and will slow to idle speed when it’s brought to their attention that they’re making a wake. The other half is impatient to get where they’re going and will slow down, but continue to make a wake. Since there’s been little or no enforcement, they go on with impunity knowing they won’t get stopped and ticketed.

This is a dangerous precedent and an accident waiting to happen. Imagine a car going through a school zone at 35 mph instead of the required speed of 15 mph and your kids or grandkids are crossing the street.

Not only is higher than idle unsafe to low-maneuverability craft, but the wake damages the bulkheads, docks (especially floating docks), and the equipment moored to those docks. Imagine your brand new $25,000 boat being slammed by an inconsiderate boater’s wake against the dock it’s moored to repeatedly as the wave train hits the dock while you’re having a meal at one of the downtown restaurants.

Cane River Lake is a public waterway to be enjoyed by all who love to be on the water. We should all respect our fellow watermen and their gear and treat each other as we want our kids, families, tourists and gear to be treated. Common courtesy and respect goes a long way to ensure fun and safety for all who use the Cane River. A few more minutes of your time is not going to matter in the scheme of your life. Most people use the river as a means of relaxation and joy after a stressful day or week at work. So, slow down in any NO WAKE situation and allow all of us to have a pleasant day.

Gerry Kiefer
Natchitoches, Louisiana

6 thoughts on “Letter to the Editor: No Wake Please!

  1. Picture this scene: A ski-boat making a slow circle to pick up a fallen skier. From one direction comes a super-fast bass boat racing to get to a favorite spot before anyone else, and approaching from the opposite direction is a loaded party barge, music blaring, is bearing down on the scene. On the opposite side is a small aluminum fishing boat with it’s occupant quietly casting his line near the bank. Add to this mix, four teens on two jet skis who are wave-hopping behind the speeding bass boat. All of whom are going to merge into a 50-yard wide part of Cane River Lake behind my home several years ago. Fortunately, frantic last-second skillful maneuvering and shut-downs narrowly avoided what could have been a very serious disaster. How could such a situation have arisen, you ask? Simply stated, a lack of education and respect for the customary “rules of the road (waterway)”, coupled with the complete absence of enforcement. If the CRWC cannot enforce the rules that apply to that 27-mile long ditch, then it would seem that Sheriff Jones, being the principal law-enforcement officer in the parish, should take the on responsibility, with the cost of the equipment and personnel being reimbursed by CRWC until such time that legislative action can be taken to re-distribute the CRWC tax millage..

    • Sandy what you described happens more then you think! You are 100 % on point! When Betty Fuller had the authority to write tickets or just stop and advise the drivers of what they were doing was wrong things were much better and safer. The NPSD is over it now,they have the patrol boats and volunteer deputies that could do it at the cost of gas.

  2. The rules on the lake are not the problem. Enforcement of the rules is the problem. I use the lake 12 months out of the year. I glad to see someone else showing a bit of concern about the problems that take place 12 months a year! But as the norm I see that the terrible problems seem mainly downtown! I’ve been swamped two times no where close to downtown. I know all the attention will now be placed there and the rest like it’s always been Everyman for himself! That means boats running 50-60 mph wake boats putting waves over the top of docks and retaining walls. And yes it happens EVERYDAY !!! Y’all want to do something safe for EVERYBODY get patrols on the entire river,safety lights on the bridges,lane bouys in the many blind curves,drunks and clean the damn thing up! There’s been a mini fridge hanging on a mile marker for years,fallen trees,there’s places on the lake by the end of summer is totally covered with moss across from bank to bank. But we don’t worry about it until someone notices has some kind of affect on where else FRONT STREET!! And before you even ask I have a 17 ft boat with a 50 top speed 32 mph. And yes I follow the posted rules to the letter!

    • I am in full agreement that boating rules & speed limits should be enforced along the length of Cane River lake, not just in the downtown area. I have been knocked off my paddleboard several times by fast boat wakes. There are boaters who see me and will actually slow to no wake when approaching & passing me. This simple courtesy is greatly appreciated & I have the highest respect for these considerate boaters.
      There is no excuse for boaters who blow through the No Wake zones regardless of where they are located. I have gotten responses such as; “I’m going as slow as I can”, “kids who get on paddleboards should expect to get wet”, “I’m not going to paddle my boat through a no wake zone”, “If you are not Wildlife & Fisheries then shut up & don’t tell me what to do” (when I ask them to please slow down). I get obscene gestures(even from women) and even some who will speed up creating bigger wakes. And, there are those who blow through downtown at full throttle. Their attitude seems to be, to paraphrase Carlton Heston, “I’ll slow down when they pry my cold dead hand from my throttle”. If boaters can’t police themselves as responsible adults then there should be a vigorous effort by government agencies to actively patrol the river and enforce the rules.

      Gerry Kiefer

  3. I live across from the old Library building on Cane River. Totally agree with these two people. I have suggested the moving of the no wake marker on the south end to to where they normally place a marker when they do the fireworks display….to no avail. There a numerous boats that totally ignore the no wake marker. Those that do usually go well beyond the marker. Its just a matter of time when someone with hit a paddle boat..

  4. I am a boater/fishermen and I agree with the author of the letter. Also not observed is I guess posted speed limit of 45mph. Drivers of big bass boats/pleasure craft to include pontoon boats need to realize that a lot of the fishermen/women are in small boats. As pointed out wave action can cause a lot of damage not only to water craft but to property. Be smart and respect others using Cane River Lake.

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