New, slow/no-wake rules along the Rock River

Rock County Board approves ordinance changes

Boaters on the Rock River will soon notice new, slow-no wake rules.

The changes are meant to be a happy medium, so the lakeshore can be protected and water enthusiasts can enjoy recreational activities.

“Anybody that’s ever owned a boat knows that when you’re traveling really slow you kind of just start baking, so the only thing you can do in a no-wake zone is stay out of the river,” said Raymond Bongiorno.

Bongiorno spent Friday with his family — coasting the Rock River and Lake Koshkonong. He said he welcomes the new changes, which were approved by the Rock County Board on Thursday evening.

The ordinance splits the river into three areas and places a higher threshold on the northern and southern parts of the river, which is where most of the boating happens.

“They found — if they could reach higher levels in those two areas — it would be more accommodating to boaters and recreationists that wish to use the Rock River, while at least maintaining the safety and limiting the amount of soil erosion on the banks,” said Capt. Jude Maurer.

The new ordinance means slow, no-wake zones will be in effect when the water rises to:

8 feet from Newville to the Indianford Dam 6.5 feet from the Indianford Dam south to the Beloit Rock Townline Road bridge 8.5 feet from the Beloit Rock Townline Road bridge to the stateline

One popular destination for boaters is Harbor Recreation.

Sales Manager Mark Richardson said slow, no-wake ordinances have a big impact on businesses located on the water.

“It does slow business down from the traffic on the water, which does slow up the normal business that you would have in a normal summer,” he said. “It can go the other way, too. Low water can cause a problem like it did last year.”

Bongiorno said he’s looking forward to more vacations on the water as long as the changes aren’t too strict.

“If they made it so it was permanently no-wake people would just stay out of the river,” Bongiorno said.