No boat speed limits at Hood Canal Bridge, but….

The in basket: Trish Olson says, “When we moved to property out by the Hood Canal Bridge, we were told that Navy/government marine traffic, when going under the bridge (transfer spans) versus through the bridge, had to maintain a speed which would not cause excessive waves.

“Is that accurate?” she asks. “I have noticed in the past few years that government vessels (mostly Coast Guard) go quite fast and the subsequent waves are substantial.

“I’m not sure if that’s damaging our oyster beds, but will check that out as well,” she said.

The out basket: The state and Coast Guard both say they impose no boat speed limits there or elsewhere.

Deputy Scott Wilson of the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office said, “There are some areas in the county where boating speed is regulated by county code.  Most are on lakes and involve the type of motor that can be used.

“From time to time the county commissioners may pass a temporary ordinance restricting wake speed or boating activity during specific events or incidents, for example:  hydroplane races on Dyes Inlet or when the Orca whales have appeared in Dyes Inlet.

“There are no speed restrictions or limits for waterborne travel under the spans of the Hood Canal Bridge.

But “Vessels traveling within 150 feet of a shoreline are not supposed to leave a wake,” he said.

I asked if KCSO enforce that and he said yes, that the operator of a motorized boat doing so would be in violation of Kitsap County Code 10.36.130.

“More often, deputies with the sheriff’s marine services unit would rather educate (warn / advise) boaters against creating a wake within 150 feet of shore than issue a notice of infraction, seeking voluntary compliance.”

He provided the phone numbers at which to complain directly to the Navy or Coast Guard about their vessel speeds, which he advised for anyone upset about their vessels.

– Naval Base Kitsap Public Affairs Office:  (360) 627-4030

– U. S. Coast Guard, 13th District Operations Center, Seattle:  (206) 220-7001.

“If one is familiar with the waters around the Hood Canal Bridge,” he added, “the wakes that motorized boats are creating are nothing compared to the normal wear and tear that the winds and the natural movement of the waters create.”

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