Changes are on the way to some waterways in Orange Beach. A popular boating and recreation area there will have a new “No Wake Zone” very soon. The area includes the entirety of Terry Cove just north of Perdido Pass.
During the summer months the waterways around Boggy Point and Terry Cove are bustling with hundreds of boats, jet skis and other watercraft. The expanded No Wake Zone is being done for safety reasons and the idea isn’t new. Orange Beach city officials said they’ve been in discussions with the state about the change for a number of years.
“It all ties back to just the general safety of the boaters who are on plane and again, with the boats, jet skis, wave runners, pontoon boats, you don’t get a second chance with collisions on those very often,” said Ken Grimes with the city of Orange Beach. “There’s a big sand bar that builds up in the Terry Cove area.”
The change in the Idle Speed Only area or No Wake Zone as it’s commonly known will include all of Terry Cove. Because of the increase in boating traffic over the years, the area has become extremely congested over the summer months, creating hazardous boating conditions. Currently, the No Wake Zone extends from the Perdido Pass Bridge, to north of the Boggy Point Boat Launch.
The change is welcomed by many who live and work on Terry Cove. Chuck Thames has worked at Sportsman’s Marina on the north end of Terry Cove for 25 years and said he’s seen safety problems escalate over that time.
“That’s probably going to save a life. There’s so many boats out there. Like I say, with the jet skiers…the jet skis and boats flying as fast as they are going, it could eventually happen,” Thames said.
The city of Orange Beach had scheduled a public meeting to discuss this topic for Tuesday, January 15, 2019, but when the state took a look at the proposal, city officials said the state decided to go ahead with the plans without further delay.
Notices have been sent to around 300 property owners to let them know the meeting has now been cancelled. Orange Beach officials said they’re working with the state on how and where to place new markers and hope to have it enforced by spring break.
“This is a state decision and the city of Orange Beach has completely, always worked with the state and understand that it’s their decision so for them to go ahead and decide to do this and get everything installed…signage, buoys, etcetera before spring break is a big situation for us,” Grimes explained.
In addition to the safety factor, some believe the change will open up new, water recreation opportunities in the area like paddle boarding and kayaking. City officials are also planning to put together a public information campaign to warn boaters of the new rule.