The POA has received numerous complaints about the impact of wake surfing on Deep Creek Lake. Some of these complaints may be the result of a lack of understanding of the rules governing wake surfing.
In 2016, the Code of Maryland Regulations [COMAR] was amended to place important restrictions on wake surfing. This is the complete text of the regulation:
Sec. 08.18.01.09. Wake Surfing
"A person may not operate or give permission to operate a watercraft for the purpose of wake surfing less than 200 feet from a shoreline, marine structure (pier, dock, piling, jetty, bridge structure, abutment, bulkhead, regulatory buoy, channel marker, floating platform anchored to the bottom and used for embarking and disembarking from boats, swimming or water skiing) and other vessels operating in the area or at anchor or moored or an individual or individuals in the water."
Unfortunately, three out of four of the existing DNR publications relating to water activities have not yet been updated to include the new regulation.
This is a link to the one brochure that does include the new regulation, and the subject of wake surfing appears on page 27:
This is what this publication says about wake surfing:
"Wake surfers must follow these regulations: * Due to the large wake created by a wake surfing boat, it must be operated at least 200 feet from shoreline, all marine structures (including piers, docks, bridge structures, abutments, and anchored swimming or water-skiing floats), navigation aids such as regulatory buoys and channel markers, other vessels that are underway, anchored or moored and persons in the water. * Any portable ballast tank must have a manufacturer's label that gives the tank's maximum capacity in gallons and/or maximum weight in pounds. * The combined weight of the ballast, passengers, gear and motors must not exceed the maximum weight capacity for that vessel."
There are important reasons for the new regulation, including preventing risks to other boaters, personal injuries, damage to docks and other structures and shoreline erosion. Because of the 200 foot limitation, there are many areas of the lake in which wake surfing cannot lawfully be conducted.
As can be seen from maps (see link below), wake surfing cannot be carried out lawfully in numerous coves and other parts of the lake, and persons who violate the rule expose themselves to potential legal liability. Many people enjoy wake surfing, but they should always be aware of the applicable rules, follow them, and be good neighbors.
Updated publications and an enhanced map are in the works by DNR but are not likely to be available until after Labor Day. Since the boating season is still underway, the POA wants to inform its members now so that wake surfing activities may be carried out consistent with applicable regulations and boating safety.
The following link shows the eleven coves where wake surfing should not take place (note the
red lines across the coves):