As we enter the 2017 boating season, it is worth a few minutes to review the lake usage rules. All of the areas shown in red are “No Wake – Idle Speed Only”. This includes a 100 foot wide ‘safety zone’ from shore all around the perimeter of the lake plus the bay areas marked-off by the white and orange buoys. It is very important to observe the safety rules for this zone, as boat traffic may be going to and from docks as well as swimmers may be in the water in these areas. Boat traffic is permitted in any direction within this red safety zone. Additionally, as these are also the shallowest waters of the lake, it is also important to proceed at idle speed only so as to not stir-up bottom sediments rich in nutrients that feed the algae.
The rest of the lake (not in red) is the speed and ski zone, with a maximum speed limit of 35 MPH, conditions permitting. This speed limit is effective from sun-up to sun-down, as indicated by our red blinking lights at the beach and on the dam. No jet skis are permitted on the lake after sun-down. Running lights are required for all watercraft permitted on the lake after sundown. There is no swimming or floating/rafting permitted in the speed and ski zone at any time for obvious reasons. Traffic is always to maintain a counter-clockwise rotation when in this zone. Note that traffic in the ski buoy course at the south end of the lake can occur northbound or southbound. Cutting back against this flow, pulling a tuber for example, is prohibited. Cutting back to pick-up a downed skier should be done quickly and cautiously. When the skier falls, quickly cut power and assure that you are clear to turn back for the pick-up. Make the turn tight, using a narrow corridor to get back to your skier as quickly and safely as you can, using your boat’s size and visibility to help protect the skier in the water. Avoid large high speed looping turns that leave your skier stranded in the water without protection and have you cutting back against traffic at high speed.
There is one other rule that applies that you need to be aware of, and that is the “No Plow” rule for the south end of the lake. From the south beach jetty to the south end of the lake (Old Columbus Road), speed and skiing is permitted (boat on plane), as is going slow. However, you are not permitted to “plow” along in this area, resulting in stirring up a continuous mud trail in the water behind you boat. The entire south end of the lake is quite shallow, and plowing brings up the bottom sediments, rich in phosphorus, to feed our problematic algae. Studies have shown that only a 5 to 10 horsepower of input to the prop, angled downward, can result in the stirring of moderate sized bottom sediments in 5 feet of water. All wake surfing should be enjoyed in the deeper waters between the beach and the dam to prevent stirring of sediments.
The sediment removal project is underway, so please stay well clear of this area, even when it is not actively in operation.
Have a safe and fun boating season!