Supervisors wise to defer action on no-wake zones

Published 10:21 am Friday, July 29, 2016

To the Editor:
I would like to thank the Southampton County Board of Supervisor for deferring action on the proposed joining of the two existing No-Wake Zones on the Nottoway River, just east of the General Vaughn Bridge of Smith’s Ferry Road. One of the property owners in the above-mentioned area has some concerns that I feel are unwarranted.

The first concern is safety. Of course, no one wants to see an accident, but, in my opinion, there is nothing unsafe about this part of the river. The concern was about boats being in the gap between the current No-Wake Zones not being able to see each other. It is a slight curve in this gap, just like the other hundred curves that are part of our Nottoway and Blackwater rivers.

The river is not overly narrow in the specified curve, and there is plenty of room to navigate several boats thru at one time. We all must be responsible and use common sense when we are on the water. As of July 1, 2016, all boaters who operate an outboard motor larger than 10 HP must have taken a Coast Guard approved Boater Safety Course. I completed the course several years ago and it is a very intensive and helpful class. There is absolutely no excuse for not knowing the Navigational Rules on the water. Anyone that can’t navigate safely thru this particular part of the river needs to stay at home!

The second concern expressed by the property owner was erosion caused by boats quickly accelerating when they leave one No-Wake Zone and then waiting to decelerate until they get right to the buoys, which throws a substantial wake on the shoreline. On Saturday, July 2, I performed my own test on that issue in the exact area of concern.

I ran right up to the No-Wake Zone buoy and quickly decelerated. I was surprised myself that most of the wake created by my boat stayed behind the boat and went to the shore “out” of the current No-Wake Zone. My boat is a 19’ Carolina Skiff that is considered a medium-sized boat for the river. It is a known fact that game wardens, or any law enforcement ffficer, can write a ticket to the boater for throwing wake in a No-Wake Zone. My findings, however, did not substantiate a problem with that issue.

I would suggest that the fast-moving current we have on the river after large rains causes more erosion than any boat ever would.

In closing, I would like to reiterate that I think joining the two existing No Wake Zones is totally unnecessary. It is not a given to have a No-Wake Zone in front of your property on the river … it is a privilege. There are already several zones in place and I can only speculate what our rivers will look like in years to come when more people build along it.

Fishermen and boaters, if you think we have enough restrictions on the Nottoway River and do not want to see any more, please call your County Supervisor or County Administrator and let them know how you feel. They are asking for input. You can find their contact information on the county website [].

Thank you, again, Southampton County Board of Supervisors, for your service to our County and your commitment to making the right decisions. Perhaps a trip on the river and a survey of the area in question is necessary in order to make an informed decision. As a boat owner, I would make myself available to assist in that endeavor.

Jerry Bradshaw