Houseboat Traffic - responsible for swamping waves, and dangerous driving maneuvers?

by Suzanne Bordihn
(Rideau Canal, Ontario)

Dangerous Houseboat Traffic - just a little too close!

Dangerous Houseboat Traffic - just a little too close!

The houseboat traffic on the Rideau Canal is plentiful, and sometimes there's swamping waves from dangerous driving maneuvers from speeding nearby boaters.


I would like to know if anyone has experienced swamping of your boat by careless, aggressive boaters. We have been boating for 12 years and have had many incidents. I would like to know if it has happened to you, and what you have done about it.

I feel that we need to make a stand, and ensure the right people know, and that corrective measures need to be put in place to penalize the offenders.

Personally I carry a camera, and as they say a picture is worth a 1000 words.

Suzanne from the Rideau Canal, Ontario.




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Reply - Answer
Well Suzanne, I can totally understand your point, and your frustration from the lack of courtesy and frequent dangerous driving.

We have also been passed by large boats making huge wakes, and have had their waves caused damage to our houseboat or the belongings inside.

Since the waterways are often a "small world" I have often stopped by to visit (with a witness) the offending boaters to let them know that their actions have caused damage or a dangerous situation.

Often the offending boater denies any wrong doing, and this is where my witness can confirm the facts. I politely let them know that the next time, I have every right to call the police and create a incident report.

This often makes it clear to the dangerous drivers that they are responsible for the wake and waves, any they tend to become much more courteous and less dangerous in the future.

However, there seems to be a constant influx of new uneducated boaters that believe that the waterways belong only to them :(

It will require a lot of more intense reminders in the boating courses to let folks know that everyone has a right to SAFELY use the water.

Now back to your camera photo, I see that the offending boater wouldn't have much choice but to accept responsibility for their actions. Like you said, a picture is worth a 1000 words.



Lastly, hopefully some of our readers will share and post comments about their dangerous houseboat driving situations and experiences. Feel free to use the "Click here to post comments." link found near the bottom of this page.


Thanks again for sharing, IAN from all-about-houseboats



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Comments for Houseboat Traffic - responsible for swamping waves, and dangerous driving maneuvers?

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No Wake Zones
by: GULF COAST

I am a firm beliver in NO WAKE zones. I'm a power boater. Hope to soon be a houseboater, trawler, or sailboater. My story begins on the gulf coast intracoastal waterway about a year after hurricane Ivan.

We were entering Florida from Alabama and we're at Big Lagoon State Park. It is a long NO WAKE zone and we knew it was there. But after the storm, things didn't look quite the same and we couldn't find the NO WAKE zone sign. We couldn't find it because Ivan had taken it.

Then we heard a loud voice from above, "YOU.. ARE.. IN.. A.. NO.. WAKE.. ZONE..". Fatguy on top of his boathouse with a big ass bullhorn. We are courteous boaters not out to wake anyone. Give us a break!

We have been waked in Perdido Pass by 60 ft sport fishers and nearly swamped. So we know how it is to be truly waked....DO UNTO OTHERS !

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Sport Fisherman Wakes on Houseboats
by: Anonymous

We live and boat on the Indian River Lagoon in Florida. Our houseboat is 47 feet long and we like to go slow and easy but we live near the ST. Lucie Inlet and large sportfishermans dig a deep trough in the water causing extremely large wakes.

It seems that they are all in a hurry whether going out or coming in. Sometimes it is impossible to turn into the wake because of boat traffic and we have been almost swamped a number of times.

Now, if we see one coming we tend to go out of the channel to avoid the wake or minimize its affects. I'd like to take pictures but its all we can do just to hang on and try and control the boat. Needless to say we have everything latched down when we are on the river.

Whatever happened to courtesy? I have operated smaller sportfisherman and always had respect for the other boaters. Times certainly have changed.

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PWC and Houseboats
by: Mark, South Australia

PWC users can be an annoyance like buzzing gnats, but they are small and their wash doesn't really affect my boat.

One boat I know, however, had a much closer encounter.

There was an idiot on a PWC trying to cut in behind moored boats to splash people sitting on the back deck.

He miscalculated and ran his PWC into the rear swim deck and cracked the hull of his PWC.

An expensive way for him to learn a lesson, I think.

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"Rodneys"
by: Joey in Sandusky

I had that happen a few years back (30). A buddy who spilled his beer winged the empty bottle into the operators head and we had our evidence.

The "water cops" didn't penalize either of the offenders. The operator did not do anymore "Rodneys" .

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waves on a buoy
by: Tim Conley

I don't think it matters where you are in world. There are ignorant boaters all over. I am in central Iowa and at our marina the runabouts are bad but the PWC's are bar none the worst offenders.

I love the idea of using a pa system and I am definately gonna get one of those.

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Ski Boat Problems
by: Anonymous

The problem we usually have on the Murray River in South Australia is ski boats, especially wake boats.

We have had to put the engines into reverse on the odd occasion to stop running over a skier who has cut across the front of the house boat and fallen.

The only time the skiers annoyed me enough to speak to them was when we moored behind an island so that we would be out of their way (4 kt area).

The gap between our boat and the island was only about 10-15 metres with fallen trees in water and they were dragging kids through the gap three abreast. The other side of the island (only about 3-4 metres wide) was clear river for at least 120 metres.

I pointed out that not only were they speeding, but that my outboards and back deck are protected by heavy c-section steel frames. While an impact would surely kill a child, I would only have to hose off the blood.

They weren't impressed with my assessment of the relative damages from an impact, but they stopped going through.

Like anything else. its only a minority that cause all the grief.


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Houseboat swamping
by: Anonymous

In this instance, we called the police and they arrived, viewed the 5 pictures and we were told that this was not considered a dangerous situation, and the boater really didn't realise his wake.

Considering the boat was no more than 2 feet from our portside I find this to be an unacceptable response. I have now contacted the marine detachment superior for an explanation, as well as Parks Canada.

Once we left the lock station, we were again passed by the same boat and waked again.....I guess he cant use the excuse that he didn't know what his boat was capable of........

I will once again update the Police and Parks Canada, and get back to me.

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We use the PA Hailer on our VHF radio.
by: Anonymous

When we have a dangerous situation happen to us, we tend to use the PA (public address) Hailer that is on our VHF radio.

It is 30 watts, and is connected to an externally mounted speaker that we use to alert the offending boater to his negligence.

We tend to wait till there is plenty of people and other boaters nearby to show our displeasure, and it helps to have other boaters nearby.

By having other people nearby listening to the reprimanding, it helps to publicly humiliate them. They likely won't be doing it again shortly.



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