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New no-wake zone possible to protect people and property

New no wake zone possible to protect people and property
Posted at 8:57 PM, Sep 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-03 00:19:27-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Billing's Bait and Tackle has been in business underneath the JFK Causeway since 1969.

It's been able to withstand decades of boat traffic just outside its doors, but the wakes they cast are a concern.

"Every time a wave comes in, it hits the bulkheads, and it pulls sediment, sand, and stuff out from underneath our building," bait shop operator Eugene Gianotti said.

On the other side of the causeway, a fisherman at Doc's Seafood Restaurant says wakes can be hazardous to people as well.

“People have fallen off the boat," Chris Guerrero said. "People have gotten banged around — especially older folks."

With the potential for injuries to people and damage to businesses, the Corpus Christi City Council is considering establishing a no-wake zone for that area.

Council members gave initial approval on Tuesday, and it's on the agenda for a second and final vote at their next meeting, September 7.

If it gets that final approval, the Intracoastal Waterway from Packery Channel to Marker 37 would become a no-wake zone.

Boaters would have to ensure their vessels are not casting wakes or face fines of up to $500.

The city would spend $8,000 posting signs warning boaters about the no-wake zone.

Guerrero hopes the city council passes it, but he still has questions.

"I think it’s a great idea," Guerrero said. "However, I’m worried about who’s going to enforce it."

That responsibility would fall on Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife, the Nueces County Sheriff's Office, Texas Highway Patrol, and the Coast Guard.

In its 52 years of business, plenty of speeding boats have cruised by Billing's, and Gianotti hopes a no-wake zone would slow them down.

But he's not convinced that all boaters would follow the new law.

“About 80, 90-percent of people follow it," he said. "And there’s always that one person or two people — it’s their world. They’re going to do what they want to do. I mean, there’s nothing you can do about that.”