News from the DNR Office of Communications

DNR to Assess Wake Issues

Speeding Complaints on Knapps Narrows

ANNAPOLIS, MD (December 10, 2009) — The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is considering several actions to help curb large boat wakes in Knapps Narrows located in Talbot County.

DNR Director of Boating Services Bob Gaudette recently met with local business owners and residents regarding problems caused by large boat wakes in Knapps Narrows. The message to DNR was that these boat wakes are creating problems for boats docked along the Narrows and are hazardous to paddle boaters using the waterway.

Knapps Narrows is a busy thoroughfare for both local and transient recreational and light commercial vessels. It currently has a DNR regulated 6 knot all times speed limit. However, the problems being witnessed indicate that the posted speed limit is not being obeyed or that some boaters are operating their boats in such a manner that they are creating damaging wakes.

“One issue facing the Narrows is that much of it is has been hardened with timber bulkheads, which has a tendency to reflect waves making them larger and more damaging to adjacent docked boats,” said Bob Gaudette. “Based on the comments that I have heard, I believe that DNR needs to take a closer look at this problem and see what we can do to help alleviate this problem.”

DNR’s Hydrographic Operations Division has already placed additional signs in the area to better alert boaters of the posted speed limit and caution them that they are responsible for their boat wakes. In addition, DNR has contacted the State Highway Administration to have the bridge tender discourage boaters from speeding up during bridge openings. DNR also plans to closely monitor the problem this upcoming boating season as part of a regulatory review process with the State Boat Act Advisory Committee to see if additional regulatory and/or enforcement actions need to be undertaken to curtail this problem.

“I know that this situation is not only of concern to local business owners and residents, but also local elected officials including members of the Maryland General Assembly,” said Gaudette. “We are confident that a solution can be worked out that will address the problem.”

This DNR boating related activity is financed through the Waterway Improvement Fund, the revenues of which come from the 5 percent vessel excise tax that is paid when a boat is titled in Maryland.

   December 10, 2009

Contact: Josh Davidsburg
410-260-8002 office I 410-507-7526 cell

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 461,000 acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries, and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic, and cultural resources attract 12 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at