At Freedom Boat Club, we are passionate advocates for boating safety. Every member goes through classroom instruction and on-water, one-on-one training with licensed captains before taking out a boat. Our goal is to ensure our members are both safe and confident on the water.
One of the most important lessons we teach is how to safely approach and cross the wake of another boat.
For many newer boaters, crossing over the wake is a scary proposition. Improper wake crossing is the second leading cause of injury to boaters and passengers. The number one cause is dock-related injuries sustained by falling during boat entry or exit.
The biggest factors of improper wake crossing are high speeds or approaching the wake from the wrong angle. Either of these can result in serious injury, including spinal compressions and herniated discs.
Here are some important tips to properly crossing the wake of another boat:
- Alert your passengers.The moment you realize you will be crossing a wake, let your passengers know. Make sure they are securely seated and aware.
- Move out away from the wake as is safely possible. The farther you are away from the boat that is producing the wake, the smaller the wake becomes. Be sure to stay within the channel and be aware of other boats in the area.
- Prepare to slow down.If yourboat is on plane, reduce your speed to where the boat just comes off plane. This will lift the bow up and help to create a cushioned effect on the wake. This bow high position also reduces the chance of diving the bow onto the second wave.
- approach the wake at a 45-degree angle.Do not turn into the wake, but continue heading parallel to the other boat. This allows the boat to roll a bit over the wake rather than jumping over it. By staying parallel to the other boat, it also keeps you positioned correctly on your side of the channel.
- Once you’ve crossed the wake, accelerate to return the boat to plane.
Knowing and practicing these safety tips will go a long way to keeping you and your crew safe on the water.
Our motto: Wake up and slow down.