As a whole, I would say the Memorial Day Weekend went rather well considering we have almost 3,000 watercrafts registered so far this season. The Goat Hill crowd started a little slow on Saturday, but by mid-afternoon there well over 90 watercrafts moored. All was quiet and seemingly peaceful in the “play area.” Sailing had fair winds Saturday, Sunday…………I counted 22 sailboats between the MC and C Fleet…..nice turn-out. The patrol stopped 21 boaters for pulling more than one person skiing (tubing is considered skiing), seven for ski flags in the wrong position and a few PWCs coming a bit close to other watercraft.
There remains some confusion about skiing on the holidays with only one person on a ski/tube. There are three major holidays we observe: Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Labor Day. Each of these holidays runs in a three-day cycle. Memorial Day and Labor Day land on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. The 4th of July will be different since the 4th moves to a different day each year. This year it will be observed Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday. Restricted hour for skiing is only observed on the holiday itself…….sunrise to 10 AM and noon to 2 PM. There will be an exception to this only if sailing is canceled on that day due to limited wind. Since sailing was canceled on Monday, May 28TH, skiing was allowed from 10:30 AM to 2:00 PM.
The most common problems seem to be the lighting of boats at night. I went out in my personal boat Saturday night and informed eight homeowners their lights weren’t on or they were missing a light. Pontoons have the worst record for evening boating. They have a stern light; however, when the canopy is pushed back the light points backwards at a 45-degree angle and not straight up and visible in 360 degrees. Increasingly more homeowners are cruising the lake at night. One must be visible with their green/red bow lights and a white illumination showing on the stern. The number ONE problem……pontoons running down the lake with their flood lights on. This is very annoying to on-coming traffic and can be blinding.
As you read this column I will have already started my rounds around the lake looking for watercraft on docks, lifts, and parkways not registered, lot/block and registration plates on docks/lifts/piers/PWC floats, and docks that are in disrepair. Please, take a moment, check your watercraft and docking structures……no one should have a citation written for the above situations, but every year I’ll write over 100 violations.
School is out for the kids from elementary to college, traffic will pick-up more during the day and weekends now especially since we seemed to have missed spring and here is Mr. Summer. Rather ironic, we all complained about the continued weekends of snow or rain and now look what we have, but I’ll take it!
The Lotawana Ski Club will be practicing every Monday and Wednesday from around 6:00 to 8:30 PM in Sunset Cove. If one needs to travel by watercraft to their abode in N or O block, the patrol will divert you over to V block and slowly cruise around Goat Hill to your destination. Parents/family members transporting their kids to practice need to slow down about M-40 and cruise by the 100 ft buoys to the Yacht Club docks. Water Patrol will be sitting in M block directing traffic.
I was very pleased for the number of individuals that stopped the patrol or called our cell number and asked questions…..that is being Pro-Active……Big Thank You.
The patrol will be enforcing the ski flags a little more closely from now on. The flag must be in a vertical position and visible always. Pontoons, your main flag is on the front bow, not on the sides. I still see suction cup flags being used; we outlawed those a few years ago mainly because they fly back as soon as the watercraft starts moving. The best pontoon flag that I have observed was one purchased on-line. It attaches to the front rail and stands up more than two feet above the seats……Perfect! I witnessed three pontoons flying their flag off the stern light……this will only do if you have a bow flag as well. Not to leave out the ski boats……..three of them had flags taped or wired to the ski rack….NO NO NO…….you can purchase flags that will clamp to the rack and stay vertical at all times. Please take the time to correct these for we will stop your skiing if the flag is not correctly flying on your watercraft……then you are upset, and the big disappointment will be with your kids having to stop skiing/tubing/wake boarding.