Have a Safe Boating Summer!

As the summer season begins, we look for another safe year at the lake.

Safety begins with preparation. Here’s a list of some things that may help this be a safe summer for you and your family.

  1. Safe Boating–First, a reminder that the Narrows will be closed to all towing and wakesurfing activities on weekends and designated holidays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. extending from May 23 through September 7. Memorial Day, July 3, and Labor Day are the holidays the rule will be in effect. This change should help reduce chances for accidents in this narrow area of the lake.
  2. Safe boating also includes being sure the operators of the boat, pontoon, or personal watercraft (PWC) are experienced and qualified. At Lake Panorama, operators of PWC who are under 18, must be at least 16 and have in their possession the certificate showing they have passed the online boater safety course. Our rule is more restrictive than the state law, which is allowed. Experience is critical in boating during heavy periods where wake and traffic can cause a challenge to a young or inexperienced operator
  3. Numbers in the boat–be sure your vessel only has the number of people in it that are authorized by the size of the vessel.  Children count the same as adults in Iowa. Anyone being towed or wakesurfing also counts as an occupant of the vessel. The most frequent violators are PWC pulling a tube and forgetting the tube rider is an occupant.
  4. Personal flotation devices (PFD) for all-Every occupant of the vessel must have a PFD that is size-rated to fit them available. All children under 12 must have the PFD on while the boat is under way.
  5. Swimming in the lake–be sure that swimmers at LPA areas are within the swim areas marked by the floating ropes. Swimming around the docks is prohibited and particularly dangerous when traffic is busy, wake is high, and visibility of swimmers may be questionable. No swimming or diving is allowed from beach docks. Swimming in the main lake is meant to be within 10 feet of the vessel. Swimming in front of private homes should always be within 50 feet of shore to avoid boat traffic. It’s always best to stay inside the area indicated by the furthest extension of the local docks.
  6. Reckless PWC operation is not allowed. For obvious reasons–narrow traffic lanes, high traffic, visibility issues and the potential for accident is high.
  7. Navigational buoys have the force of rules. The buoys are the rules on the water and violators will be fined. The same “three strikes and you’re out” rule exists as it has for years. Three violations loses a member’s boating privileges for all the vessels involved.
  8. Boating under the influence–The Iowa DNR law enforcement does patrol the lake and has been vigorous in enforcement of this important rule. Don’t take chances. Unimpaired boat operation is important. Designated operators are commended.
  9. Observers are needed for towing and wake-surfing. There needs to be an observer in all vessels to watch for those being towed or surfing. Watch for quick turnarounds. The LPA recommends using the red flag to wave when vessels pursue downed skiers, tubers, or wake riders. Always watch for other skiers, wakeboarders and tubers that may have gone down.
  10. Speed limits after sunset are for a reason. There are hazard areas, docks, and other items that may not be easily visible. More than one incident has occurred in recent years of higher speed collisions with objects after dark.

Have a safe boating season