Boaters in Wisconsin have long had to cut back on speed near docks, rafts, piers and restricted areas. Did you also know that the slow, no-wake rule also applies to the full lake shoreline on all lakes in the state?

The law prohibits boaters from operating their boats faster than slow, no-wake anywhere within 100 feet of shore.

Slow, no-wake means operating a boat at low speed, but still able to maintain steering of the craft.

Lake areas of flowages, which are wide parts of rivers such as Lake Wisconsin, also are covered under the new rule.

The law makes it safer for people wading, swimming or fishing near shore and it should help reduce conflicts between near-shore recreationists and boaters.

The rule will also aid in erosion control, since boats operating in shallow waters near shore can churn sediments and chop vegetation, possibly spreading invasive species such as the Eurasian water milfoil.

With the high water we’ve been experiencing on all of our area lakes, it’s especially important that boaters follow the No Wake law.  Several area lakes have temporarily posted their lakes as No Wake lakes.  If your lake is experiencing problems with wave erosion, you may want your lake association to consider temporarily classifying your smaller lake as a No Wake Zone Lake.

Another alternative is to mark areas that are prone to erosion with NO WAKE ZONE buoys and floats.  If you are experiencing these problems, contact the Forest County Sheriff’s Department’s Recreation Officer or the DNR.

Conservation Corner

Conservation Corner is a weekly article produced by the Forest County Land &Water Conservation Department. For more information contact Steve Kircher, County Conservationist-Land Information/GIS Director at 715-478-1387 or by e-mail at