Safety near planned kayak launch prompts action

The Havelock Board of Commissioners agreed Monday night to seek a no wake zone for a section of Slocum Creek near a planned kayak launch.

“You’ve just saved somebody’s life, folks,” Commissioner Danny Walsh told fellow board members.

Work on the kayak launch at the new Slocum Creek Recreational Area has already started, and city officials fear collisions between speeding boats and kayakers on parts of the creek that are narrow and curvy.

“The last thing we want is some kind of accident,” Mayor Will Lewis said.

A no wake zone is the equivalent of a speed limit for boats. The city proposes the zone for an area that starts at the boat ramp next to the U.S. 70 bridges and extends north under the bridges for about 1,000 feet. The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission and Coastal Area Management Act officials would have the ultimate decision.

“It’s a lot shorter than I envisioned,” Walsh said.

Havelock Planner Katrina Marshall said the area of the zone had been determined after a trip on the creek and consultation with wildlife commission personnel. She said the zone would be marked with signs at both ends as well as floating markers inside the zone.

The latest city officials expect the zone to be marked would be late spring if it is approved.

City commissioners also thought signs to educate kayakers and canoeists about safety, such as paddling on the edges of the creek rather than in the middle where boats travel, would also be a good idea.

“If you build the ramp and invite the kayakers, you have to protect them,” Walsh said.