Enforcing speed limit on water is essential
An interesting discussion has emerged in The News about the pros and cons of an Outer Harbor speed limit. Last summer, I wrote the Coast Guard calling for the imposition of such a limit and received a warm response.
I suggested a limit of the lesser of 10 mph or no wake as a standard to apply to the Black Rock Canal and the area southward bordered by the harbor breakwaters to the north entrance, but only as far south as a line between the Coast Guard breakwater and the outer breakwater. This area, which would include the approaches to Erie Basin and the Buffalo River, would allow safer use by all types of craft, a situation that is now a nightmare. It would make sense, also, to apply this limit to the approaches (maybe 100 yards out) to Wilkeson Point, Bell Slip, Buffalo State Park (Small Boat Harbor, Gallagher Beach) and the South End Marina. Simple buoys could mark these limits.
There are many culprits who lead to the need for this restriction. Large power boaters who seem unaware that when they turn at speed their inner bow wake becomes mountainous. Paddle boaters who insist on checking their texts mid-channel. Sail boaters who don’t understand the rights (senior to theirs) of commercial craft in a restricted waterway. And Jet Skiers who blast through everything at unconscionable speeds.
With many decades of experience, I could write pages about proper seamanship and nautical etiquette, but just enforcing this speed limit in these specified areas will make boating in Buffalo a much more safe and satisfying experience for everyone.
Andrew R. Graham
Retired commander, U.S. Navy