The Austin City Council approved Ordinance No. 20200206-012 on February 6, 2020. That ordinance created slow-no wake navigational control zones for boats on Lake Austin under and around the Pennybacker Bridge, the area immediately north of the Tom Miller Dam, near the Oyster Landing Marina and the Walsh Boat Landing.
In an effort to improve boater safety, this ordinance focuses are high-traffic spots for loading and unloading boats and other watercraft, swimming and other water recreation, and refueling.
Under this ordinance, boaters must operate at headway speed, meaning that vessels are required to travel at the lowest possible speed needed to maintain control of the craft. These control zones are marked by navigational buoys as well as signage posted at the boat ramps and nearby businesses.
The Austin Police Department Lake Unit has been conducting community education and engagement with boaters since this ordinance took effect on February 17, 2020. The officers have been working to raise awareness and gain voluntary compliance during this period, issuing warnings to this point. The education period will be extended until July 14, 2020 due to delays associated with COVID-19. Following that, a boater may be cited for violation of city ordinance (a Class C misdemeanor) and face a maximum fine of $500. A boater may also be cited during the ongoing education period if they have already been warned multiple times. Be aware that in order to take enforcement action, the Austin Police Department Lake Unit must observe the violation.
In a January 31, 2020 memo to Mayor and Council, the City Manager recommended the creation of these two new no-wake zones: