Enjoy boating, but obey no-wake zones


Open water, a cool breeze, clear skies, and the feeling of waves lapping at the side of your boat: Few activities are more relaxing and enjoyable than summer boating. Getting caught up in the euphoria, however, is no excuse to be negligent and ignore the rules on the water.

The Herald has reported on no deadly boating accidents on the South Shore this summer, and we’d like boaters to keep it that way. Nowadays, areas like the South Shore Blueway Trail in Freeport are populated not only with boaters, but also with swimmers, paddleboarders and kayakers, which makes it even more important for those with motors to operate their crafts safely, using common sense.

We’re now six weeks into hurricane season, and we should all be more aware of one of the most important natural resources that helps to reduce the damage caused by big storms: mudflats. Coastal wetlands that form when mud is deposited by tides or rivers, mudflats absorb large amounts of water that storms push landward. They reduce the force of those storms, and serve as buffer zones against erosion.

The wakes boaters leave when they speed through these wetlands, however, can erode the mudflats over time. If you’re boating this summer, be responsible by minding signs delineating no-wake zones, which usually have speed limits of 5 miles per hour.

Yes, boating should be fun, but boat operators must also focus on safe practices. Don’t ruin a great day on the water by being anything less than vigilant about the swimmers, kayakers and paddleboarders who share the water — and the restrictions that are intended to preserve our priceless natural habitats.