Tega Cay wants help from state leaders to slow boating traffic around the peninsula.
Tega Cay City Council voted Dec. 15 to ask South Carolina Department of Natural Resources to create a bill for no wake zones at the coves adjacent to the city. SCDNR officers will survey the coves during boating season to see if problems exist.
“I don’t know that we’ll get anything in place by this boating season, but this at least gets the ball rolling,” said Charlie Funderburk, city manager.
City leaders also are reaching out to lawmakers to cover both bases in hopes of a speedier solution..
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“It puts a little more emphasis,” said Mayor George Sheppard.
State Sen. Wes Hayes, mentioned in the ordinance as chairman of the county delegation, said he’s willing to see what his group can do to help.
“It certainly is a possibility,” Hayes said. “At this point, we’ll look at what can be done.”
The resolution notes boat traffic has “increased immensely” the past several years and boaters are “continually put at risk on Lake Wylie” by excessive speeds in nearby coves. Sheppard said there haven’t been specific incidents to spark the action, but residents have asked for slower speeds.
“We are seeing more requests,” said Joe Stowe, executive director for Lake Wylie Marine Commission, explaining as more people move to the area requests for no wake zones is growing.
Residents sometimes find broken no wake buoys or create their own to mark their property, which is illegal. Lake residents can put up signs on their property informing boaters of the standard no wake rule within 50 feet of a dock or structure.
“A lot of private citizens were putting out no wake zones on their own,” Hayes said.
Along with safety, the issue is also environmental.
“We’re also concerned about erosion,” Sheppard said. “You’ve got these waves pounding against the shore. We don’t want to wash away.”
The idea is patterned after a 1998 bill to set up no wake zones on Hilton Head Island in Beaufort County at 11 creeks and an area between two markers on the New River. It also prohibits anchoring or loitering within 100 feet of a private dock or residence abutting the no wake zones.
The Beaufort County rule carries a misdemeanor $250 fine or 10-day imprisonment, or both, upon first conviction. Subsequent offenses would bring a $500 fine or 30 days, or both.
Funderburk doesn’t think Tega Cay’s issue is unique to the city.
“It’s all over Lake Wylie,” he said.