No wake zone sought for St. Clair River


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There’s a wave-smashed garage door facing the river at Purdy’s Fisheries, where jersey barriers recently went up to block the wake of pleasure boats zipping by.

Signs warn people heading in for fish and chips at the fisheries’ dockside eatery – also bounded now with the water-blocking barrier – they may get wet, since water levels are as high as they’ve been in decades.

“If the traffic would slow down in the river, we’d probably be OK,” said the fisheries’ Rob Purdy.

The speed limit in the river is 10 kilometres per hour when within 30 metres of the shoreline, with limited exceptions, according to Transport Canada.

But high water levels have some riverside municipalities calling for a no-wake zone.

Downriver in St. Clair Township signs reading “no wake high water” went up last month in riverside parks, township Mayor Steve Arnold said.

They’re toothless in the Transport Canada regulated waterway, but were erected amid U.S. boaters moving over to bypass similar slow-down zones enforced on the American side, he said.

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“With some people, it seems to be working,” he said. “With others, maybe they don’t notice them.”

The message is about respect, he said, noting freighters moving up and down the Great Lakes transit route have noticeably dropped their speeds.

Pleasure boaters, not so much.

“I’m sure if it was their place, they wouldn’t want people to flood them every time they went by,” he…

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