SOUTHPORT, NC (WWAY) — If you’re planning to hit the water in Southport in the next couple of months, you will soon need to slow down. The US Army Corp of Engineers has approved a “no wake zone” near the downtown waterfront.
A no wake zone means boats must travel at a slow enough speed as to not create waves behind them.
Eli Bostic owns Southport Water Tours, and has lived in the city his entire life. He says believes it’s time for a change.
“We don’t really feel it in the old yacht basin here, but definitely the waterfront like American Fish Company, that little bar down there, their docks have to get repaired every couple years, just because there’s so many waves that are constantly hitting their dock,” Bostic said. “They do construction over there almost every winter.”
For more than three years, the City of Southport has been working to cut down potential dangers on the water, and now the city is finally seeing results.
“You have a lot of boat traffic that’s increased over the years that I’ve been in Southport,” said Southport Mayor J.V. Dove. “And the other thing is too, that you have the marina down there that has expanded over the years.”
Dove says the decision to create a no wake zone on a stretch of the intracoastal waterway was based primarily on safety concerns, but also because large wakes have been causing damage to docks and docked boats.
“We had passed resolutions here, and Chief Deputy Charlie Miller has been working along with Congressman Rouzer to get that area declared a no wake zone,” Dove said.
The zone will extend from the Southport Marina to the edge of the Yacht Basin in the intracoastal waterway, and Mayor Dove says the Bald Head Island Ferry and cargo ships will not be impacted by the no wake zone.
Bostic says while his opinion on the matter may have been different as a recreational boater, as a commercial boater, he understands why things must change.
“Some of these bigger fishing boats and these bigger cruising boats that come by, they throw off a pretty big wake that comes through here,” Bostic said. “And it really rocks all these boats and really rocks the dock a lot. And if someone were to lose their footing on the dock it could be pretty dangerous. I do feel a little bit bad for a lot of the guys, a lot of the charter fishermen around here that are used to going the speed they want through this area.”
Mayor Dove says the no wake zone will likely go into effect in November once signs are put up.