Lake Safety - Recent Complaints

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Lake Safety - Recent Complaints

Postby Tony » Tue Sep 11, 2007 12:35 pm

There have been some recent complaints about unsafe boating practices.

Here is a snippet from a recent CLPA meeting:

Lake Safety: Mary Cannon mentioned that correspondence was received from Jim Carroll with concerns of unsafe driving on the lake the weekend of August 4th particularly in regards to his canoe. Mary said she responded to him by e-mail. Mike Cannon stated that more boats are involved in wakeboarding and not planing off their boats is causing larger waves. A possible solution is to make sure people respect the 100 feet clearance from boat to shore. Tim Mitchell said the Sheriff’s presence could help.
Linda Fake and Lois Miller witnessed a possible serious accident. On the week of August 6th a man was on a boat pulling a young girl with no spotter attending. The little girl seemed distressed and the man proceeded to jump into the lake without a life preserver, leaving the boat
in gear. Linda Fake then attempted to rescue the man who appeared to be going under. The little girl swam safely to shore. Thankfully the incident had a safe outcome. Finally as the man was leaving, Lois Miller reminded him that he need to have a spotter. Lois said, “No, no it’s against the law, not to have a spotter.”
Dick Lefebvre suggested that the directors remember that there is an ongoing Sheriff’s race between Tom Lorey and Dave Edwards and it may be worthwhile to contact these candidates.
Warren Roosevelt asked Bill Fielding if there was any set schedule for when the sheriffs arrive at the lake and Bill said it is a random enforcement. Linda Clark stated that the wake issue is affecting other small lakes. Some lakes have banned the types of boats that produce these wakes. She also said that it is a New York law that makes the operator responsible for all damages caused by the boat and ensuing large wakes. Linda asked if an information box in the Echo would be helpful, Warren agreed and Linda Clark will handle that job. It was also suggested by Dave Fisher that skiing be conducted in the middle of the lake, the advantage being less wake to neighboring docks. Henry Eifert informed us that there were three recent break-ins at Stewart Landing and the sheriff should be made aware of any unsafe conditions on our lake and properties.


Now, Its fairly obvious that the issue of the man jumping into the water could have been easily prevented by having a spotter on board, having easily accessible life jackets, and of course, taking the boat out of gear and killing the motor.

Now, less obvious is a solution to the wakes produced by boats pulling people at low speeds. As a wakeboarder myself, I feel rather defensive over this issue. Contrary to what the CLPA implies in its meeting minutes, this is not a wakeboard specific issue. Teaching someone how to waterski for the first time, or simply pulling young children around the lake on a tube both use equally slow boat speeds, producing the same large wakes you might see a wakeboarder jumping. Singling out wakeboarders as the cause of large wakes is simply wrong. Anyone can drive in an unsafe and or disrespectful manner, regardless of the water sport towed behind the boat.

On calmer days when the big lake is relatively tame, its a simple matter of staying well away from the shoreline. However when the wind churns up the big lake, wakeboarders, just like water skiers, have to seek shelter from the wind and chop in west or green lakes. Its a common misconception that wakeboarders should go out in the choppy water because we like jumping the bumps anyway. I cant tell you how many times Ive heard this. Its simply not true. Think of wakeboarding more like you think of trick skiing. You need a smooth and consistent approach to the intended wake jump, as well as a flat and controllable landing on the other end. Because we chase after this glassy smooth water, affectionately referred to as "Butter", wakeboarders tend to hug the sheltered shorelines where the water is smoothest. Thats not to say that we need to come within 100 feet of the shore, but the closer to the shore, the smoother the water tends to be. When you consider how little these larger wakes dissipate in 100 feet, its easy to see how some property owners can get so upset.

I think what we need is some education in boating etiquette. Tow boats need to carefully select the lines they drive to minimize impact of their wake. One simple way to reduce the impact of your wake for both you as well as the shoreline is to drive in straight lines as opposed to big squares or rectangles. Driving straight lines with "needles eye's" or sharp turnarounds at either end allow the boat to drive right back over the line you took in the opposite direction. You'll be right down the center of the wake you put down, so you don't have to worry about hitting a long line of rollers on the opposite side of the lake like when you drive squares. Now that youre only driving stright lines, you can decide where to put that line so that its still in a sheltered area, while still minimizing the impact on residential shorelines. In green lake, the best line seems to go diagonally between the corner where the bridge and sheriff's boat is, across to the opposite corner. Pay special attention to keeping your turnaround far enough off shore so as not to swamp the houses at the corners. In west lake, driving straight across the back seems to be the most sheltered, and has no houses along the back shore.

I understand that this isnt the magic cure-all answer to everyones gripes, especially when you add more than one boat trying to drive a pattern at the same time, however a little consideration goes a long way...

-Tony
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Re: Lake Safety - Recent Complaints

Postby JohnS » Wed Sep 12, 2007 2:16 pm

Tony,

The lake is becoming more and more crowded with boats, especially on weekends. Sunday of Labor Day weekend was a zoo!

Even though I don't wakeboard I agree with your statements. Singling out wakeboarders is no different than going after jet skis. FWIW: when I have been out in the canoe, I have had more issues with inconsiderate pontoon boat drivers. Its not the boat, its the operator.

One thing I have noticed, over the last few years, is an increase of boats just drifting in the main part of the lake. This is especially true on days when it is calm, and water sports can use more of the lake. While it is certainly within their right to drift, it makes it extremely difficult to navigate between and be far enough away from shore. There were a number of days this year we just stopped. It wasn't worth it. When we just want to hang-out, we go over by the state lands and anchor close to shore.
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