The Fourth of July holiday is the busiest weekend of the Lake Panorama season. Hundreds and thousands of guests, both family and friends, descend upon our beautiful facility to celebrate.
Extra people means extra boats and extra traffic. Here are a few thoughts on keeping the holiday safe for all here at the lake:

1. Only allow experienced operators familiar with Lake Panorama to drive the boat or operate personal watercraft (PWC) over the busy weekend.
2. Be sure that there is a suitable personal flotation device (PFD) for every passenger. (rated for the size and weight of the occupants)
3. Be sure that all the non-swimmers wear their PFDs. Iowa law requires children under 13 to wear a PFD while the boat is under way.
4. Avoid towing tubes, skiers or wakeboards during the busiest boating times. When someone goes down or falls off, there is risk that they may not be seen in the heavy boat traffic. Heavy wave action makes riding much rougher and more likely to bounce riders off of tubes and take skiers and wakeboards down.
5. Watch for the Narrows buoys–Lake Patrol will close the Narrows to towing if it appears safety will be a problem in this narrow area. (see #4)
6. Above all, do not allow anyone who has been drinking alcoholic beverages to operate the vessel.
7. Be sure all PWC operators are 18 or over. Lake Panorama rules require PWC drivers to be at least 16, and if under 18, must have passed the boater safety course AND have the certificate in their possession. No operators can be under 16 in ANY circumstance, even if an adult is riding with them.
8. Pay attention to hazard buoys which mark an AREA of shallow water. Don’t assume the buoys only mark a particular rock or shallow.
9. Be sure to keep right of the center-line buoys in all the main lake areas. The only areas without the center-line buoys are the main basin from the Marina to Christmas Tree point and the Upper Basin at the extreme upper end of the lake.
10. During the fireworks display, keep running lights on and pay attention to directions by Lake Patrol. Speed limit after sunset is 10 mph.
11. Pay attention to the vessel’s rated capacity. Iowa law counts each passenger toward capacity, whether they are a baby or a 300 pound football lineman. Over capacity boats will be stopped, ticketed and sent to shore to unload the extras.
12. PWCs have capacity ratings and anyone being towed by a PWC counts toward the passenger rating. A PWC towing a passenger on a tube must be rated for at least three people–the driver, the observer and the tube passenger. A PWC with a 3 passenger rating with three individuals riding and one being towed is over capacity.

Invasive Species
It wouldn’t seem a little shellfish would be a safety issue, but it is an environmental issue. It and other invasive species must be kept out of Lake Panorama. Be sure you are familiar with the Lake rules requiring clean and dry boats being trailered into the lake and the invasive species registration/questionnaire required. If your boat has been in another body of water, it needs to be completely clean and all compartments dry upon inspection and had five or more days to dry since its last use. Call Lake Security ahead of your arrival to arrange for your inspection.

On Land
1. Drive carefully and observe speed limits. Watch for children who may not be aware of traffic.
2. Golf carts may be driven on lake roads, but it is not recommended during this busy weekend. ALL operators of golf carts on streets must be licensed drivers, even if a licensed driver is present. Carts are only allowed on the streets at night if they are fully equipped with headlights, tail lights, brake lights and signal lights for highway operation.
3. ATV’s are not allowed on lake roads for recreational purposes at any time.
4. Keep family vehicles off the road wherever possible. If there is absolutely no place else to park, be sure all vehicles are parked on the same side of the street and as far off the road as possible.
5. Only use fireworks legal in Iowa. Fireworks displays should have a permit from Guthrie County, safety people in place, and insurance coverage.
6. Swimming–keep everyone inside the swim ropes at the LPA beaches or within 50 feet of shore if swimming in front of lakefront properties.

Common Courtesy
11 p.m. is the designated time to shut down noisy activities. Please use consideration of your neighbors while celebrating.

The important thing–Keep your family and your neighbor safe this weekend. Use common sense and look out for the other guy.

Happy 4th! Celebrate our freedom to enjoy ourselves by having a safe holiday.