there is a wave animation button that deformed lattices that does it simply. Define a plane, subdiv, then on Editing buttons F9, add a Modifier of Wave type. All sorts of controls are there for wave height, direction, start and end, etc. then move the plane to follow the boat so more waves are generated in time with the boat being there to generate them. Might need two planes for each wake side as the boat makes a V wake.
Also, Cog’s presentation at con06 suggested too to use a simple cylinder for mist, but using his thought (cause he is like the global water expert) set a cyclinder to deform the mesh and have it push up the water; moving the cyclinder away at an angle from the boat. The cyclinder would have to ‘rock’ to simulate the crest of the wave moving away, diminishing ripples by the cylinder sinking down and thus deforming less. Hmm…the Wave modifier sounds so much better; i guess that’s why the feature request for it went in the first place.