Fast boats, bad buoys

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The Idaho Department of Lands, Kootenai County Parks and Waterways Department and the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office are offering a joint message to boaters and waterfront property owners in Kootenai County.

The agencies ask boaters not to cause wakes within 200 feet of docks, boats and the shoreline on lakes, and within 100 feet of docks, boats and the shoreline on the Spokane River in Kootenai County. County ordinances stipulate the distances.

Idaho Code No. 67-7019 also states “It shall be unlawful for any person to operate a vessel on the waters of the state of Idaho at a speed or under conditions that cause any damage to or affects the safety of other vessels, docks, shoreline installations or any other property or person.”

“It serves everyone’s interest to operate your boat safely and responsibly so that you do not hurt anyone or cause damage to someone’s property,” Kootenai County Sheriff Ben Wolfinger said.

In response to boaters coming too close to docks and shorelines, some waterfront property owners have placed unpermitted buoys in the water to mark the 200-foot no-wake area.

Only governmental entities have the legal authority to put buoys in place, and the ones placed there by private individuals are illegal and present navigational hazards. The agencies ask the waterfront owners to remove them, or the state or county will remove them.

“We appreciate the cooperation of boaters and waterfront property owners in making our beautiful lakes and rivers safe places to enjoy,” Wolfinger said.

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