Boat-Owner-Safety-in-Lakes-Swimming-in-D

History

The MLA has been a proponent of safe water activities on Mississippi Lake for years and has promoted safe water practices through their website and social media presence. In recent years, the number of boats and personal watercraft (PWC) on the Lake has increased. This was especially noticeable during the 2020 season.

 

Combined with increased traffic on the Lake, there was also a noticeable increase in unsafe boating activities. Many property owners on the Lake have expressed concern with this increase and the MLA shares that concern. To that end, the MLA has created the Water Safety Initiative project as a means to increase public awareness, increase safety measures being used on the lake and generally, to create a safer environment for all those who use our Lake for recreational activities.

The Issues

  • Boat and PWC speed

  • Boat and PWC noise levels

  • Unsafe boating practices

    • People on watercraft without PFDs

    • Overloading of boats

    • Boats towing skiers/’pull alongs’ without both diver and spotter on board

    • PWC towing water-toys with too many people aboard

    • Unsafe activity involving alcohol, refueling, navigation, age limits, safety gear and weather

    • Boating at night without lights

  • Docks

    • Extending beyond 15 feet into the lake without appropriate marking

    • Separate boat lifts and swimming platforms out in the lake without reflective markings or lights

  • Swimmers

    • Without PFDs

    • Without spotters/buddies

    • Out in middle of lake without a spotter/buddy or without high visibility markings

Water Safety - Webinar

On November 14th the MLA hosted a webinar to help focus our work.  Two key groups made presentations. 

  • The Safe Quiet Lakes/Decibel Coalition provided insight into their work to raise awareness of unsafe boating, boat noise and water safety.  Their experiences and lobbying efforts will be most helpful for the MLA moving forward.  You can review their presentation here.

  • The OPP presented a most informative briefing that provided some great data concerning water/boat related dangers that we will use in our information campaigns. Review their presentation here.

Here the OPP provides the answers to the unasked questions from the webinar.  Some very informative replies.

If you would like to reviewed the webinar check out the video below.

Action Moving Forward

The MLA has endorsed the development of a Water Safety Initiative to examine the scope of the problem, conduct background research, reach out to support groups/partners and investigate possible courses of action.

This is a multi-faceted issue and plans will be shared with the community.  Success in the end will depend on the willingness of concerned lake dwellers to get involved.

Moving forward the MLA Water Safety Initiative committee will be working to develop educational tools promoting water safety.  Stay tuned to this page for updates.

If you are interested in this issue or have something to share you can contact the MLA at boat_safety@mlakes.org.