Mon River violators could face fines, jail time
Morgantown Dominion Post
9 July 2012
By Amanda DeProspero
Boaters who don’t obey the no-wake zone between the Morgantown
Lock and Dam and just below the Westover Bridge may be subject to
a fine or even a jail sentence depending on the severity of the
infraction, said a representative of the West Virginia Division of
Natural Resources (DNR) Law Enforcement.
“It can be anywhere from $20 to $300, plus jail sentence,
depending on the magistrate’s decision,” said Capt. Bill
Persinger, with the DNR.
The no-wake zone, which means boats can only move at idle speed,
Persinger said, was officially put into effect when the buoys were
placed a couple weeks ago. The zone extends from the lock and dam,
where one white and orange buoy sits, to the area of Walnut
Street, where a second buoy alerts boaters to the change. There
also is a sign painted on a pier under the Westover Bridge.
DNR, Morgantown Police and other law enforcement officers can cite
boaters who create too many waves.
“It’s a judgment call on the officer,” Persinger said, adding any
boaters who produce a wake that affects “people or property” can
The no-wake zone was proposed last year because of the abundance
of activity in Morgantown’s riverfront area. Morgantown City
Council, the BOPARC board and DNR were involved in the process.
Tim Terman, a boater who helped rally support for the no-wake
zone, said this particular part of the river is a “multi-use
recreational area,” with swimmers, kayakers, rowers and others
often sharing the water with boats.
“On top of that, you’ve got the fountain. You’ve got two BOPARC
docks there, so it seemed like a reasonable thing to say that we
want the area under control so that everyone can enjoy this
without any trepidation,” Terman said.
“How do you argue safety? You’ve got people out there congregated
...” Persinger said. “I think it’s a good move for safety
David and Barbara Linn, members of the Monongahela Rowing
Association, are excited about the no-wake zone, as they often
have trouble steering and balancing their watercrafts through
“Before, when people went by in fishing boats really quickly,
everything at the dock is going up and down and crashing onto each
other. That’s not something you think about when you’re in the
motor boat, but it really affects the shells that we use,” Barbara
David agreed. “Rowing is magical, until a bass boat goes by at 35
knots,” he said.
For the most part, Terman said, people have been obeying the
no-wake zone, especially during a recent bass fishing tournament
when several boats came out of the lock at one time.
“The bass fishermen have been just marvelous,” Terman said. “They
came out and just glided down there in formation almost. It was
just a beautiful sight.”