Wakes and Boats Initiative

We are experiencing the “The Perfect Storm”:

  • Boating activity on Clam Lake is up 56% over the last three years (check here for data)
  • Clam Lake is narrow and shallow, averaging less than 1000 feet in width and 13.1 feet in depth
  • Wake boats and large boats are becoming more numerous

The “Wakes and Boats Initiative” is an on-going educational effort launched by Friends of Clam Lake (FoCL). It is an awareness campaign focused on excessive boat wakes which damage the shorelines,
compromise the fisheries, and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to mitigate.

Numerous studies throughout North America have been summarized in the Michigan DNR Fisheries Report 37. These studies have focused on wake surf boats, which produce wave heights 2-3 times higher with wave energy up to 17 times more than regular boats. However, we have also seen that regular boats can produce excessive wakes. The studies’ conclusions have shown:

  • It takes over 500-600 feet for excessive waves to dissipate to the normal conditions of a typical motorboat on plane.
  • In water less than 15 feet in depth, waves and prop-wash scour the lake bottom, increasing sediment
    suspension, decreasing water clarity, and disrupting plant growth. Some studies state that with certain boats, this issue can exist at up to 33 feet in depth.
  • Less native aquatic plants mean fewer rearing areas for juvenile fish, affecting overall fish populations.

Please choose to make a difference by following and sharing the suggestions below with friends, family, neighbors, guests, and renters.

Clam Lake needs your help!

Since Clam Lake is narrow, shallow, and extremely vulnerable to excessive boat wakes:

  • Start up and boat 500 – 600 feet from shoreline.
    • For Clam Lake, with safety in mind, that means down or near the middle of the lake.
  • Wakesurf or tube on Torch Lake.
    • It’s a much bigger lake, but please stay 600 feet or more from the shoreline.
  • Vary the location where you wakesurf or tube.
    • Spread the impact out to different parts of Clam Lake or Torch Lake.
  • Boat at no-wake speed or get up on plane and stay there.
  • Avoid plowing through the water.
  • Avoid quick stops.

For further information, see the following: