UMN researchers study waves created by recreational boats
A new study by researchers at the St. Anthony Falls Laboratory found that popular wakesurf boats require a greater distance from the shoreline to reduce the potential impact of their larger waves. The researchers measured maximum height, total energy, and maximum power of the waves, and how the wake waves changed as they moved away from the boats and toward shore.
Researchers involved include Lead researchers Jeff Marr and Andy Riesgraf, plus William Herb, Jessica Kozarek, Matt Lueker, and Associate Professor Kimberly Hill in the University of Minnesota Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geo- Engineering.
This study found that:
- When researchers compared the wake waves of the four boats during their most typical mode of operations, the data indicated that wakesurf boats require distances greater than 500 feet from the shoreline/docks and other boats (or the distance of a little less than 1.5 football fields) to decrease their wake wave characteristics to levels similar to the non-wakesurf boats.
- When researchers compared the wake waves of the four boats under conditions that generated the largest wake wave, the data indicated that wakesurf boats require distances greater than 425 feet from the shoreline/docks and other boats to decrease their wake wave characteristics to levels similar to the non-wakesurf boats.
- In both modes of operation, the suggested distance from shoreline/docks for wakesurf boats is more than twice the distance of the 200 feet currently recommended by Minnesota guidelines for common recreational boats.
- Under both slow and fast speed conditions, the wakesurf boats produced the largest waves in terms of height, energy, and power when compared to the non-wakesurf boats.
- Larger, more energetic waves need to travel a greater distance to decrease in wave height, energy, and power.
This report establishes an important baseline for the study of wake waves produced by wakesurf boats—a topic of growing interest across the country.