BONNER COUNTY, Idaho -- A popular style of boat has become so popular on some North Idaho waterways, that local leaders are saying private docks and shorelines are being damaged as a result.
Leaders in Bonner County are considering new rules aimed at cracking down on large wakes coming from boats. The sport of wakesurfing has become popular too. But in many cases, boaters are getting too close to shore.
Tom Suttmeier lives on the edge of Sandpoint, where the water transitions from Lake Pend Oreille to the Pend Oreille River. His dock has been damaged by high powered boats and their large wake.
"The boats coming by within 20 and 30 feet from your dock, at full power. Those wake boats, they just destroyed it. Just ripped it out," he explained.
In 2017, his boat lift and a wake shield were destroyed and Suttmeier is not the only one. Some county leaders have expressed concern about the large wakes eroding shorelines too. It is the result of wakeboats and sports like wakesurfing becoming more and more popular. The county is looking at potential new regulations to crack down on the wake aftermath.
Currently, boats are not supposed to create a wake within 200 feet of any shoreline. Officials have said those laws are hard to enforce and 200 feet is not effective for a high-powered wake boat. Potential fixes could be designating specific wake-surf areas on the lake. Increasing the no-wake zones in other parts is an option, too.
For now, this is all a discussion, and county leaders are getting input from both sides. Either way, some folks like Suttmeier say enforcement needs to ramp up.Damage from wake boats is costing him $30,000 in repairs.
"That's a lot of money. Just because you want to show off and impress me? You don't impress me. I impress you," Suttmeier said.
As of now, there is no set timeline on when new regulations could be decided on or go into effect.