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Boating Etiquette: Wake Crossing

On crowded, choppy water, especially on large lakes and coastal waters, wakes can be challenging. It's important to know the best way to cross a wake.

Here are some good wake-crossing tips:

  1. If traffic allows, turn your direction to be almost parallel to the wake and cross at a very gentle angle to avoid having to greatly drop speed. Depending on the size of the wake, you may need to slow your speed to keep the bow of the boat from pounding and causing discomfort to your passengers.
  2. If you’re approaching a wake caused by a boat coming in the opposite direction, approach with your bow at approximately a 45-degree angle to the oncoming wake. This will allow the bow to move up and over with a little roll and less pounding. If the wake is large, you will need to slow your speed to keep from falling off the top of the oncoming wake.
  3. If the vessel making the wake has passed you (going the same direction you are going) and if traffic allows, turn so that your stern is at a 45-degree angle to the approaching wake. This lets the wake roll under the stern and pick it up while keeping the motor in the water.
  4. If you’re pulling a water skier, be sure to always keep an eye on your skier when making any of these maneuvers.