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Burger Yachts

About Burger Yachts

BURGER YACHTS is a full-service yacht builder in Manitowoc, Wisconsin with a rich history of building custom yachts of top quality. Burger collaborates with the world’s best designers and naval architects to produce aluminum and steel yachts up to 260′ (80m) in length. The community of Manitowoc is filled with generations of craftsmen skilled in the art of shipbuilding, applying their hand and skill to making yachts that create the vision and style of each client. Burger’s full-service facility offers ample space for construction of new yachts, refits, maintenance and repair. With over 150 years of experience, Burger continues to showcase its talent in each yacht from beginning to completion.

World-class yacht construction by Burger yachts includes the 151′ (46.1m) SYCARA IV, the 153′ (47m) INGOT, the 103′ (31.5m) NORTHLAND and more, with designs by some of top stylists from around the world, including Luiz De Basto , Bruce King and Vripack .

Available Yachts

Browse the entire fleet of Burger yachts for sale or find a Burger yacht for charter below.

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Burger Yachts For Sale & Charter

  • ABOVE 400'-200'
  • MID RANGE 200'-150'

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For more information about Burger yachts for sale and your own custom tailored yacht report , or to book a Burger yacht for charter, simply contact the Merle Wood & Associates luxury yacht brokerage firm.

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Burger Boat Company, founded in 1863, is recognized worldwide for design, quality construction, seaworthiness and reliability. As the foundation of the American yachting experience, Burger is one of the oldest and most respected custom yacht builders in America.

View of Northland being launched using the Travelift

Custom Yachts

Burger Boat Company has a long tradition of delivering an extensive variety of yachts to meet the highest expectations of discerning clients. Working alongside many of the world’s most respected designers and naval architects, Burger’s team of skilled professionals have designed, built and delivered an impressive fleet of custom yachts that integrate state-of-the-art technology in exquisite craftsmanship.

Design Concepts

Building your yacht is a joyous journey and we’ll join you, every step of the way. Start here and finish with the adventure of a lifetime.

SET FREE cruiser on the water with buildings in the distance

Burger 120 Raised Pilothouse Motor Yacht

Burger Boat Company Shipyard

Founded in 1887

Founded by Henry & George Burger

With a rich history of boat building dating back to the yards founding in 1887, the Burger Boat Company continues the tradition of delivering quality yachts to this day. Located in Manitowoc, WI, the yard focuses on building custom-designed, hand-built pleasure yachts.

Some of the yards notable projects include MIRGAB V, TENACITY, LADY PAT, WOW, BEST N SHOW, TOM TIMES, SIS W, ANNE-MARIE, WIMIL, LADY GRACE MARIE, SARAHBETH, LADY LARSA, SERENITY, FAE LON, JUBILEE, SEAQUESTER, LAD, ARGYLL, and SIMARON.

Yachts built by Burger

Burger INTERMISSION

INTERMISSION

Lake Assault Boats

Navigating Excellence – Custom Boats Tailored for Every Mission

Experience the fusion of advanced engineering and unmatched craftsmanship, in the heart of superior, wisconsin, lake assault boats stands as a beacon of marine innovation, expert craftsmanship meets advanced marine technology, explore our diverse fleet: designed for durability, functionality, and elegance.

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Customization & Innovation

Tailor-made solutions for unique maritime missions, leadership perspectives: executive testimonials at lake assault boats.

We have the honor and privilege to work with the best customers in the world. Whether it be the U.S. Armed Forces, Special Operations Forces, Fire Departments across the country, international or local and state Law Enforcement departments, all our team members take intense pride in our workmanship and quality and put the same passion and care into every vessel we build.

Lake Assault is known across the globe for the strength and quality of our builds. This commitment to our customers is demonstrated every day around the world, from The Rivers of Vietnam and the Middle East to the shores of Chesapeake Bay and beyond. No matter if you need a new fire, police, or work boat or even just modifications or repairs to your existing fleet, Lake Assault Boats, has the skills, capabilities, and resources to meet your needs anywhere, anytime. When it comes to Waterflow management for Firefighting, Lake Assault is the “GO-TO” in the industry! No one understands your needs better than Lake Assault.

Interactive Boat Builder

Design your dream vessel with our interactive boat builder, ready to embark on your custom boat journey.

Cruisers Yachts was founded in 1953 in Oconto, Wisconsin, on the shores of Green Bay. Since then, we’ve built a legend, with an eye toward utilizing a deep and knowledgeable workforce to produce boats that keep customers safe and happy as they chase adventures worldwide. By now, Cruisers is proud to have 4th generation boatbuilders in its factory, something that very few other companies can claim.

Whether boaters prefer the comfort and livability of the Cantius  line, or the heart-thumping excitement of a ride in one of our GLS  models, Cruisers Yachts is dedicated to bringing American-made boatbuilding quality to a level that’s never been seen before. That’s why our customers choose Cruisers Yachts time and time again, as they make their own lifelong commitment to the joy of being on the water.

Explore the differences between each series and discover which Cruisers Yachts model is right for you »

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About Cruisers Yachts

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In the case of our yachts and your journeys, you're buying a company culture that has uncompromising love of yachts and the people that own them. Welcome to Cruisers Yachts.

1978 Model 288 Villa Vee

The Beginning

In 1904, Thompson Bros. Boat Manufacturing Co. made its first home in the small, northern town of Peshtigo, Wisconsin starting the legacy of a family boat-building business.  Always thinking big in terms of the craft and durability they brought to the boat industry, the second generation of Thompson's started building wood lapstrake outboard cabin cruisers in Oconto, Wisconsin in the early 1950s.

The first known Cruisers, Inc. catalog debuted in 1956. Prior to that, the company was building 14' and 16' boats under the Thompson Bros. label.  In 1965 wood boats were replaced with fiberglass as the new technology was wreaking havoc with the wood boat business.

2013 Model 48 Cantius

Becoming Cruisers Yachts

Cruisers, Inc. was sold to Mirro Aluminum Company of Manitowoc, Wisconsin in 1971. It wasn't until 1979, when Roy Thompson retired, that someone other than a Thompson ran the company.

In 1980 the fiberglass product line of Mirro Marine Division (Cruisers) was sold to T.J. Bogard (the former President of Mirro Marine Division) and T.A. Lisle (formerly of Eaton Corporation).

In the early 1990s K.C. Stock, who was born and raised in the Oconto area, saw the potential for opportunity. In 1993, Stock's KC International Inc. purchased the company and changed the name to Cruisers Yachts.

2018 Model 48 Cantius

Developing Our Modern Yacht Lineup

In 2011 the Cantius series was born with the launch of the 48 Cantius. Then in In 2015, Cruisers Yachts unveiled its largest yacht by introducing the 60 Cantius. That following year, they introduced the 60 Fly, 54 Cantius, and 54. 

Since then, we've continued to add new models with new innovation each year. The 46 Cantius launched in 2018 as well as the Mercury outboard on the 338. The 38 GLS debuted in 2019, the 42 GLS debuted in 2020, the 34 GLS in 2021 and the the 50 GLS in 2022.

In 2021, due to demand, Cruisers Yachts announced the expansion of their production capacity by purchasing a 216,000 square foot, purpose-built boat manufacturing plant in Pulaski, WI. Such expansion allows Cruisers to more than double its capacity over time. In the same year, MarineMax’s acquisition of Cruisers Yachts ensures it will always have a premium, American built yacht in its product portfolio.

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Cruiser Yacht on the water

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More From Cruisers Yachts

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Customer Testimonials

At Cruisers Yachts, we enjoy seeing all our customers experience the boating lifestyle aboard one of our models. Check out what our customers are saying about their Cruisers Yachts boat.

Rendering of the Cruisers Yachts 55 Flybridge

Introducing an All-New Flybridge Series

Explore more about the upcoming launch of the all-new groundbreaking Flybridge series, a brand-new evolution of our popular Cruisers Cantius series.

Cruisers Yachts GLS on the water

OUR CORE BELIEFS

No other boatbuilder in the world can match the level of innovation, seaworthiness, and luxury seen on a Cruisers yacht. Our lineup, which includes models from 34 to 60 feet, has everything a boater could wish for, be it the unmatched comfort and seaworthiness of the Cantius Series or the sizzle and excitement of our GLS Series. Cruisers Yachts does it all.

42 Cantius

CUTTING-EDGE TECHNOLOGY

Cruisers Yacht getting painted in a factory

FACTORY TOUR

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20+ years of DREAM BUILD PLAY

For 20 years and counting, creating new yachts and yacht brands has been our passion. The result? 70 new builds to date, including 5 international design award winners.

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Express Cruisers

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Superyachts

Fort Lauderdale | Miami Beach

Fort Lauderdale Miami Beach Aventura

YachtCreators

Yachtinventory.

Perfection is subjective. It’s not about finding the perfect yacht, it’s about finding the yacht to create perfect moments on.

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Exclusive USA Importer

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This is different. Dutch-based Focus Yachts delivers Superyacht-level engineering, design, and an obsession to details seldom found outside of full custom builders. World-Class, handcrafted yachts from 36 to 60ft.

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Fiart Mare, proud builder of high-speed Italian sport yachts unlike any other in their class. With over 5,000 builds since 1960 , Fiart Mare's success in boating is legendary.

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The Ultimate Exumas Superyacht. Voted Best New Series by Boat International, Dutch built & engineered, and with a class-leading 4’6" draft.

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Pedigree. Stability. Flexibility. Since 1967, family-owned Van der Valk Shipyard has been proudly constructing premium motor yachts in both steel and aluminum.

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Maharani by PRIME is a paradigm-shifting 50-meter layout dedicated to human centered living, placing the onboard Owner Experience at the center of it all.

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Royalty has arrived. Waterdream, the Dutch-built, Dutch-designed line of luxury dayboats and weekenders. Created by the Netherlands’ Prince Bernhard van Oranje, launched in the Americas by YachtCreators.

Award-Winning

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A 55-meter / 180-foot motor yacht built in steel by Heesen and delivered in summer 2017.

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The stunning 24-meter motor yacht by NISI Yachts, delivered in 2011.

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An innovative 50-foot catamaran built by NISI Yachts and delivered in 2014.

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The Ultimate Exumas Superyacht built by Van der Valk and delivered in 2019.

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The 34-meter fully-custom, all-aluminum tri-deck explorer by Van der Valk Shipyard, delivered in 2021.

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International

Collaborations.

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Vripack Design

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RADYCA Design

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Azure Yacht Design

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Debasto Design

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Reymond Langton

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The Italian Sea Group

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Bloemsma Yachts

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Burger Boat Company

Luxury alliances.

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New construction • Brand creation • Brokerage • Management • Charter

  • Client Galleries

The World’s Finest Wooden Boats ®

Discover the, van dam difference.

Building boats exclusively from wood, Van Dam ensures craftsmanship lives on as an art form for you and future generations to enjoy. It is at the hands of our craftsmen that the magic of custom built truly happens. We invite you to experience the difference.

Streblow Custom Boats

Streblow Builds Custom Fixes & Repairs Sells Custom Securely Stores Boats

In lake geneva, wi, this is streblow country.

Building Memories in Lake Geneva Since 1950.

Since 1950, Streblow’s Handcrafted Custom Wooden Boats in Lake Geneva, WI, have been providing unparalleled aquatic experiences for families across generations.

Our expertise in boat building , repair , maintenance , renovation & boat storage ensures that Streblow Custom Boats are optimized for longevity, granting a lifetime of cherished memories on the water. Our legacy of craftsmanship sets us apart as the premier watercraft manufacturer, dedicated to delivering nothing but the best.

Each Streblow custom boat is a masterpiece, meticulously designed by our master craftsmen, who skillfully blend timeless aesthetics with the finest materials available. The resplendent mahogany exterior guarantees to turn heads, while the engine’s potent yet melodious roar ensures an enchanting voyage on the waves. Experience ultimate relaxation and indulge in the splendor of superior craftsmanship as your Streblow boat glides effortlessly through the water, offering unmatched serenity and joy.

Contact us today to customize your own Streblow boat or test drive one of our impeccably maintained pre-owned boats . Visit our showroom in Lake Geneva to explore our selection of pre-owned boats for sale and experience the luxury and craftsmanship firsthand. Our range of services includes expert restoration to breathe new life into treasured boats, as well as convenient storage solutions tailored to your unique needs. Our expert team is ready to assist you in finding the perfect boat for your needs.

Feel free to contact us anytime at 262.728.6898 or stop by our Lake Geneva showroom at 251 Host Dr, Lake Geneva, WI !

Custom Pre-Owned

Streblow Boats For Sale

Serenity

26′ Straight Drive Sport

Experience serenity on this 26’ Streblow. Feel the sun and wind as you relax on the water. With ample room and plenty of power, this boat promises a peaceful escape for you and your crew.

Bucket List

Bucket List

Streblow vee drive sport.

Built in 2010

If owning a masterpiece is on your bucket list, this unique 23’ v-drive is your dream come true. With u-shaped seating and custom mahogany accents, it’s poetry in motion. “Bucket List” is the epitome of functional art on the water.

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Hebridean II

23’ v drive streblow / sold.

Built in 1989 – Ford 460 – 360 Horsepower

Named for the Scottish isles, this picturesque 23’ v-drive is perfect for your summer adventures. Its U-shaped interior is ideal for relaxing or socializing.

Rare-Bird

23′ Straight Drive Streblow

Built in 1990 – Ford 460 Big Block Engine w/ Chrysler Cooling System – 360 Horsepower

This updated 1990 23′ Straight Drive Streblow, powered by a Ford 460 Big Block Engine with 360 horsepower, promises effortless summer gliding. Enjoy the luxurious upholstery and comfort of “Rare Bird” as you experience lake life at its best.

All Aborg

23’ Straight Drive Sport

Built in 1979 – 502 Crusader Engine – 400 Horsepower

This speedy 23’ boat, powered by an 8.2-liter Crusader motor, is ready to enhance your summer adventures. Add this powerful vessel to your fleet and create unforgettable memories. Our highly motivated seller is seeking offers, so seize this opportunity now!

Lori-Dor III

Lori-Dor III

23’ straight drive.

Powered by a 7.5 460 V-8 Ford

This 23’ straight drive is ready for summer fun. Featuring dual ladders, an immaculate interior, and powered by a 7.5L 460 V-8 Ford, it’s your perfect water toy. Adorned with custom stainless steel Streblow badging, this boat is eager to deliver endless enjoyment!

“No Name”

“ No Name ”

YOU BUY IT, YOU NAME IT!

With a refreshed interior, this 23’ straight drive is ready to fuel your summer dreams. Perfect for sunset cruises or thrilling water sports, this boat is ready to join your family’s adventures. Hop in and let the fun begin!

Egret – Skiff Craft

Skiff Craft

Skiff Craft boats are lovingly made by hand one at a time. Building one takes two to three months, so only a limited number are made each year. This classic wooden boat boasts a large cockpit and creates a feeling of spaciousness and versatility. Powered by a Volvo outdrive, this lapstrake boat is quite maneuverable for its big size and ready for big water.

Wear Streblow. Join the legacy.

Streblow Custom Boats Craftsman Approved Apparel We invite you to wear the gear that represents 70 years of drive and commitment. SHOP STREBLOW GEAR:

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Let’s Connect…

We love to update our social media platforms so that you can follow progress on a restoration, see what’s for sale, or simply check out our awesome lake life posts! Send us some of your own Streblow pictures to be featured on Facebook or Instagram.

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Subscribe to our email list to stay up-to-date on the latest Streblow stories.

Streblow Custom Boats in Lake Geneva, WI

This is Streblow Country!

The Antique and Classic Boat Society | ACBS

Streblow Custom Boats

251 Host Dr, Lake Geneva, WI 53147 Office: (262) 728-6898

Mon-Fri 8:30AM–4:30PM Sat & Sun: 10 AM–2 PM

Recent News

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Hello March 2024! Essential Maintenance Tips for Your Streblow Custom Boat

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Streblow Custom Boats Celebrates Success at the Geneva Lakes Antique & Classic Boat Show

Grand Craft flag

Grand Craft Boats: The Standard in luxury on water

If you seek out unique possessions and experiences that let you escape from the everyday—then let your imagination run wild and create your own masterpiece. Our classic luxury handcrafted mahogany boats embody the timeless design and enduring spirit of the 20s and 30s. Grand Crafts turn heads while every modern convenience assures comfort and delivers superior performance.

Craft Your Masterpiece

Each customized Grand Craft mahogany boat embodies the tastes, style, and sensibilities of its owner, both in the inherent uniqueness of a luxury wooden boat and in the customized touches chosen. Explore our handcrafted boat models as a starting point and then let our craftsmen build your masterpiece.

Craftsmen building boats

The Burnham

Classic Lines and Modern Performance

The Clybourn

The Clybourn

The Best of Both Worlds

The Winchester

The Winchester

First-class Travel

Custom Boats

Custom Boats

Your Dream Brought to Life

Let us craft a masterpiece that reflects your desire for the unique

Begin your Grand Craft journey by requesting a digital brochure. Commissioning your work of art will be an unforgettable journey. Our expert craftsmen will help guide you from your initial vision to the day you launch.

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  • Restored Boats For Sale

Norton Boat Works 535 Commercial Ave

Green Lake, WI 54941

920.294.3544 Shop 312.543.4689 Cell

[email protected]

Shop Hours Monday through Friday

7:30 am to 4:00 pm or by appointment

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Welcome to Norton Boat Works

The Norton family began building boats in the late 1800s. The current generation is no different. We have been in business as Norton Boat Works since 1970. Over the years, we've built and restored hundreds of classic wooden boats. From repairing a simple "dock rash" to designing a brand new custom cruise, we are a full service wooden boat building facility. We can design, build, or restore to your specifications. We can also teach you how to do it yourself. We'll strive to keep your investment looking like new or better ... We're passionate about wooden boats!

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Bergersen Boat Co.

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WOODEN BOAT

Restoration.

Restoring, upgrading, buying, selling or storing, we've got you covered. We care for your boat like it's our own.

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Selling & Restoring

Wooden boats.

We are thrilled to be Geneva Lakes' ultimate destination for top-notch wooden boats! We believe that owning a wooden boat should be an exciting and enjoyable experience. That's why we take care of all the details, from restoration and upgrades to buying, selling, and storing. We treat your boat as if it were our own, always providing honest opinions and ensuring that your restoration is worthwhile. If you're considering restoring a boat, we're here to help you choose the perfect candidate to become your dream boat!

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Boats For Sale

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1958 16' Dunphy

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1963 26' Riva Tritone

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1932 16' Chris Craft Runabout

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1957 24' Shepherd Twin V-Drive

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1970 26' Lyman Cruisette

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Remote Control Cigarette Boat 'Chucks Racing'

Chris Craft Holiday interior

1955 22' Chris Craft Holiday

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Sold- 1961 21' Chris Craft Continental

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Sold- 1989 24' Grand Craft Luxury Sport

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Sold- 1947 17' Gar Wood Garform

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1964 22' Gage Hacker

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1977 16' Donzi Ski Sporter "Sweet 16"

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Award-Winning

You're in for a treat! Feast your eyes on our Award-Winning gallery showcasing our restored boats that have won numerous awards. Get ready to be amazed!

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What Our Customers Say

We had our Chris Craft restored by Bergersen Boat and she has never looked so good! Thank you for your fine attention to detail and great service!   - Bill

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My thanks to everyone at Bergersen Boat for making it possible for me to receive the 'Best Streblow' award at the 2016 Geneva Lake Boat Show!   - Mr T III

Wakesurfing boats on WI lakes; calls to restrict 'monster trucks' of water

Calls to limit wakesurfing boats on wi lakes.

A conflict is brewing on Wisconsin lakes as a new generation of powerboats is making big waves. That is setting the stage for a water war in Madison.

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Wis. - A conflict is brewing on Wisconsin lakes as a new generation of powerboats is making big waves. That is setting the stage for a water war in Madison.

With more than 16,000 recognized bodies of water, Wisconsin is a land of liquid paradise. Sometimes, though, paradise gets crowded.

"All the sudden a monster truck comes into the public park and starts doing donuts," said Scott Rolfs, a fisherman who lives along the shores of Big Cedar Lake in Washington County.

Rolfs is talking about wakesurfing, a sport that is quickly growing in popularity on inland lakes across the country. 

"It's a lot of fun," says Drew Jelen, an avid wakesurfer and owner of Wiscoboardco, a small business that makes custom wakesurfing boards.

Like water-skiing, wakesurfing starts with a motorized boat pulling a rider out of the water with a tow-rope. But unlike skiing, wakesurfers can toss the rope back once they get up on their feet. The wave produced by the boat then pulls the surfer along, untethered.

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Drew Jelen is a wakesurfing athlete and owner of Wiscoboardco, which makes custom wake boards. He lives near Little Muskego Lake in Waukesha County.

To generate a wave big enough to surf, so-called "wake boats" are designed with deep hulls containing built-in holding tanks that fill with lake water to weigh them down. The ballast tanks are intended to create an artificially-magnified wake. 

"If the boat is sunk down, that wave comes up high," Jelen said.

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The wake boats are also equipped with special plates that push the boat's wake to one side, creating taller and longer waves, even at slow speeds.

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"You just want slow, steady and a nice wave," Jelen said.

To create the biggest, steadiest wave, wake boats in surfing mode never go fast enough to level out on the surface. Instead, they plow through the water in a pre-planing position, with the boat's rear end, or stern, angled down. The boat rarely reaches a speed of more than 11 to 13 miles per hour. According to boating industry experts, that's one of the things that makes wakesurfing attractive, not just to young surfers, but those with aging bodies.

"You’ve been water-skiing your whole life," said Jesse McArdell, policy manager for the National Marine Manufacturer's Associatio, (NMMA) . "You have bad shoulders, bad hip. You don't feel comfortable anymore going 30, 40 miles per hour out there."

McArdell says older boaters are also the ones most likely to have extra money to spend on the sport, which is important since new wake boats tend to cost upwards of $100,000 to $200,000 or more.

"This is not the sport of the common guy," Rolfs said.

According to McArdell, wake boats first came onto the watersports scene in the early 2010s. They surged in popularity during the pandemic, when social distancing made other public activities harder to do.

The most recent sales figures released by NMMA show wake boats now represent 4.6% of all new powerboats sold in the United States and nearly 90% of boats with inboard motors.

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Wake boats represent a relatively small, but growing percentage of all powerboats sold annually in the United States.

"The new kids are on the block now," Jelen said.

But popularity is a matter of perspective.

"This is a serious issue," said Rolfs, secretary of a newly-formed special interest group, Lakes at Stake . The non-profit's aim is to severely restrict the use of wake boats in Wisconsin .

"It is controversial," said Hans Mayer, a lifelong sailor and Vice President of Lakes at Stake .

"When there's a wake boat out there, it owns the lake," said Joe Garstecki, a water skier who is acting as Lakes at Stake 's treasurer.

"This is an issue that affects millions of people in this state," said Jaimey Minney Maples, the group's communications director. "They are crowding out the lake."

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According to NMMA , recreational boating is an $8 billion per year industry in Wisconsin , ranking the Badger State 7th in the country in economic impact. Those dollars come from lake users in ski boats, pontoons, jet skis, paddleboards, kayaks and, of course, fishing boats.

Lakes at Stake members say wake boats are making it harder for everyone else to enjoy the water because of the massive residual waves they generate.

"When the wake boat comes by, we all have to quick grab onto the sides and hang on," Rolfs said.

To demonstrate the impact of wake boats on smaller vessels, Lakes at Stake invited the FOX6 Investigators to spend Memorial Day weekend in a kayak on Pewaukee Lake.

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FOX6 Investigator Bryan Polcyn kayaks on Pewaukee Lake, Memorial Day weekend 2024

As one of Wisconsin 's biggest lakes, Pewaukee Lake can handle a lot of powerboat traffic. Still, at the peak of the afternoon, with three or four wake boats circling at the same time, our kayaks had to navigate some treacherous swells.

"Getting knocked around, frankly," Garstecki said. "There’s not a better word for it."

A video posted on the Lakes at Stake website shows a child stranded atop a slide on Lake Keesus in Waukesha County . After a wake boat passes nearby, divergent waves build as they traverse ever-shallower water on their way to the shoreline. The child's grandfather warns her to stay put as the waves batter a floating dock, as well as the bottom of the child's slide.

But wake boat critics say the greatest threat is not lake enjoyment or safety. It is the health of the lake ecosystem.

"They damage the environment, destroy personal property and erode the shoreline," said Jeff Meessmann, a member of Last Wilderness Alliance , which has repeatedly lobbied the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to do something about it.

"You need to act immediately to stop the harm," said Tom Olson, a resident of Vilas County, at an NRB meeting in 2022 .

"I think this is one area that’s bipartisan as hell," said Fred Prehn, a former Natural Resources Board member.

"Wakesurfing represents a threat with the broadest spectrum of damage to our lakes, lakeshores and lake users that I’ve encountered," said John Richter of Plum Lake, Wisconsin .

State law currently requires ski boats to stay 100 feet away from other lake users, but a study by the University of Minnesota in 2022 found waves produced by wake boats have three to nine times the energy of that from traditional ski boats when measured 100 feet from a wake boat's path. That same study found the wake boat waves still had three times the energy of ski boat waves after 500 feet. And that's just the beginning.

"There may be a lot of things going on underwater," Rolfs said.

Wake boats operate with the engine's propulsion system angled down, which critics say can scour the lake bottom in shallow areas, churning up sediment and ruining fishing habitat.

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This graphic from a study of North Lake in Waukesha County shows how the propulsion system of a wake boat angles toward the lake bed when the boat is in surfing mode, weighted down with ballast.

A study commissioned by the North Lake Management District in Waukesha County found that could have significant effects on lake bottoms as deep as 20 feet or more.

Lakes at Stake shared video from the floor of Big Cedar lake near the end of May 2014 showing lush vegetation and fish population. They then shared video from the same location 10 years later, showing what appears to be a significant decrease in lake bed vegetation.

They can't prove wakesurfing caused the change, but Lakes at Stake members say they believe it is a harbinger of things to come.

"It's mounting and some of it could be irreversible," Maples said.

That is why they want to ban wake boats on all but the biggest Wisconsin lakes. According to DNR data, Wisconsin has more than 2,000 lakes large enough to allow for motorized boats that create a wake. Those are lakes at least 50 acres in size.

Lakes at Stake wants to limit wake boats to lakes at least 1,500 acres in size. That would mean wake boats could only be used in wakesurfing mode on 77 lakes across the state, including just a handful near Milwaukee . Not many more in Wisconsin 's northwoods, where water recreation is a summer rite of passage.

"I would move," Jelen said, referring to a possible 1,500 acre restriction. "I’m not even joking. I would get out of here."

"In effect, what you would do is concentrate this activity on a select group of lakes," McArdell said.

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Wisconsin has more than 2,000 lakes of at least 50 acres in size, large enough for motorized boats

yacht builder in wisconsin

If wake boats are restricted to lakes at least 1,500 acres in size, there would be a total of 77 lakes that could accommodate them

"It just creates a very contentious issue," said Stephen Radtke, a member of the informally-organized Wisconsin Wakesurf Alliance, a group formed on Facebook to counter the growing campaign against wakesurfing.

"They do cause waves," Radtke acknowledges. "They do."

But Radtke said the research commissioned by critics raises theoretical concerns without proving wake boats cause any actual harm.

"Wake boats have been around 15 years, and we have yet to be able to point out, wake boats destroyed this entire shoreline," Radtke said.

Radtke has spent time studying the research pushed by groups like Lakes at Stake and, with a scientific background of his own, he refutes the claims one by one. Radtke is especially critical of the study design employed by critics, which tested one of the largest wake boats available and compared it to a 20-year-old ski boat.

Radtke points to a study commissioned by water sports enthusiasts that used computational fluid dynamics to estimate the impact of wake boat waves on lake shorelines. The study, published in the Journal of Water Resource and Protection determined a 200-foot buffer is enough to ensure wake boats have a "minimal" impact on the shoreline.

The study said the shoreline impact of wake boat waves generated 200 feet from shore is the same as naturally-occurring waves produced by 20 mile per hour winds.

But wake boat critics point out that two of the three authors on that study work for Mercury Marine in Fond du Lac , which manufactures boat engines.

"Each side is critiquing the other," Rolfs said.

Now, the two sides are racing to change state law.

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Wake boat critics want to keep them 700 feet from shore (and other lake users) and require them to operate in 20 feet of water on lakes at least 1,500 acres. Wake boat supporters want to set a 200-foot distance limit with no depth or lake size restri

In November (2023), the water sports industry convinced a pair of northwoods state lawmakers -- Senator Mary Felkowski of Tomahawk and Representative Rob Swearingen of Rhindelander, both Republicans -- to introduce a bill that would have locked in a statewide 200-foot buffer for wake boat operation in Wisconsin .

Three months later, wake boat critics got Republican Senator Andres Jacques and Democratic Representative Christine Sinicki to introduce a 700-foot shoreline buffer and to require wake boats to operate in water at least 20 feet deep on lakes at least 1,500 acres in size.

"Is there a way for everyone to be happy here?" Polcyn asked Mayer.

"Almost certainly not," Mayer said, with a wry smile.

"I think there is," Radtke said.

Four states -- Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee and South Carolina -- have already codified a 200-foot distance restriction for wakesurfing. Maine set a 300-foot buffer. New Hampshire is still debating between the two.

"There are wake boat owners I've talked to that have said, we can live with 300," Radtke said. "Let's get it done."

Last month, Vermont became the first state to require wake boats to operate 500 feet from shore.

"500 really is the minimum," Rolfs said.

Now, other states are keeping a close eye on Wisconsin , which could become the first state in the lake-heavy northern midwest to set any standard at all for wake boats.

yacht builder in wisconsin

"It's an important state to the recreational boating industry," McArdell said.

"Our lakes are precious, and they belong to all of us," Mayer said.

"There's plenty of room on the water for everybody," Jelen said.

But is there? One thing is indisputable. The outcome of this water war will have ripple effects for years to come.

In the court of public opinion, wakesurfing critics appear to have a big head start.

In its spring survey, the Wisconsin Conservation Congress asked (Question 43, page 20) if the public would support legislation prohibiting wakesurfing on lakes smaller than 1,500 acres, in depths less than 20 feet, and at distances less than 700 feet from shore.

Of the more than 13,000 Wisconsin residents who offered an opinion, 75% said "yes," they would support those restrictions. The vote is non-binding, but could be influential with lawmakers. Wakesurfing supporters say they have work to do to get their message out.

In the meantime, there is a fast-growing patchwork of local ordinances that restrict wake boats, mostly in northwoods communities. Even some wake boat critics say that is not ideal. The varying rules from lake to lake could create a quagmire for boaters and law enforcement, they fear.

Meanwhile, wakesurfing supporters are advocating responsible behavior.

They urge wakesurfers to:

  • Stay 200 feet away from shore and other lake users
  • Limit repeated passes in the same area to avoid cumulative wave effects
  • Keep the music down
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Illinois coroner identifies 2 teenage girls who died after their jet ski crashed into boat

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ANTIOCH, Ill. (AP) — A coroner has identified two teenage girls who died this week after their jet ski crashed into a boat on a northern Illinois lake.

The girls were identified as 16-year-old Sarina Vootkur of Lake Forest, California, and 13-year-old Elle Kim of Long Grove, Illinois, the Lake County Coroner’s Office said Thursday. Autopsies determined that both died from blunt force injuries in Tuesday’s crash.

A preliminary investigation by the Lake County Sheriff’s Office found that Vootkur was operating a Yamaha jet ski with Kim as a passenger at Lake Marie, about 40 miles (64 kilometers) northwest of Chicago near the Wisconsin border, the coroner’s office said.

Witnesses told police the jet ski was traveling at a high rate of speed when it collided with a moving boat being operated by a 55-year-old Antioch, Illinois, man who was unable to avoid the collision.

The impact knocked unconscious both teens, who were wearing life vests, and threw them into the water. The boat’s four occupants pulled them from the lake and called 911, but both girls were pronounced dead at a hospital.

Tuesday’s crash remains under investigation by the Lake County Sheriff’s Office and Illinois Conservation Police.

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Owner claims Kaukauna building's bricks fell due to May tornado, nearby roads closed

Bricks, which fell from the façade of Galleria of Tile on Father's Day, caused Lawe Street in Kaukauna to close until they can be cleaned up.

KAUKAUNA - On Father's Day, bricks fell from the face of a building in Kaukauna, causing a road closure near the building.

According to Amanda Septimo, co-owner of The Galleria of Tile in Kaukauna, last month the building was hit with an EF1 tornado that touched down in the city and traveled about 1.3 miles. Afterwards, Septimo noticed the bricks were rotated.

Septimo's husband, Jesus, who is a co-owner of the galleria, reached out to various brick companies to fix the issue, but the company he selected cancelled at the last minute.

On June 16, the Kaukauna Fire Department responded to a report of a building collapse at 319 Lawe St. — the galleria's address. However, Septimo claims those reports were a bit exaggerated, as the building is still intact.

"It was not a building collapse. It was just the bricks that are attached to the building that fell," Septimo said. "Structurally, the building is sound."

The bricks falling caused the north and south bound lanes of Lawe Street, near the intersection of Wisconsin Avenue and Taylor Street, to be closed. According to Septimo, the road will be closed until the building gets fixed.

Nobody was injured and no vehicles were passing by at the time of the incident.

Rashad Alexander can be reached at [email protected].

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