Local yacht club has safety concerns that impact boaters

BELPRE, Ohio (WTAP) - Members of the Blennerhassett Yacht Club are concerned about safety because of the increase of wakes on the Ohio River.

They believe the problem is caused by a lack of boating education among new boaters.

Members would like to have a no-wake area in front of the club.

Todd Perrine has been a member of the Blennerhassett Yacht Club for more than 10 years.

“Slow down, idle by. A lot of boats don’t realize that if they go by with their nose in the air, it actually makes a higher wake than if they would go by wide open out in the river," Perrine said.

There is a no-wake zone within 300 feet of the club's fuel pump.

“It’s a gray area between the state of Ohio and the DNR of West Virginia of who monitors that and who polices it," Perrine said.

There are safety concerns that some boaters might not realize.

"If somebody happened to be fueling up their boat and a wakeboat went by and put a humongous wake into the dock while somebody was fueling, it can cause them to spill fuel into the river," Perrine said. "So it’s a safety concern as well."

Club members said people are responsible for the damage caused by their wake.

Phillip Fleming is the commodore of the Blennerhassett Yacht Club.

“A lot of it's unseen in the times that not everybody is always on their boats. So sometimes when people come back to their boats or the docks themselves, they’ll find that ropes have been snapped, cleats have been pulled out of boats," Fleming said. "Things on the boats themselves are knocked over and busted, and we’ve actually had people fall off docks".

The club has been in talks with the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources about hosting boating-education classes.

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