Water Safety Committee Resolution - 9.4.22 - Presented at the LRA General Meeting
At the 9.4.22 Labor Day LRA general membership meeting, Pat Hickey as chair of the WSC discussed a Resolution that was ratified by motion and unanimous approval of the LRA Board of Trustees at the Trustee meeting held on 9.3.22. Development of the Resolution was guided by three general objectives, i) improve safety and manage shoreline impact of ballasted wake surf waves, ii) address the expressed desire of LRA membership for additional regulation around ballasted wake surfing, and iii) make recommendations in line with the LRA’s responsibility to represent ALL constituencies on the lake, to preserve comity across the lake community, and reach a broad community-oriented compromise.
The Resolution contains two parts, legislative and educational. The WSC believes the recommended actions are achievable and realistic and will allow progress against the objectives. The Resolution also represents a cooperative community approach. The Resolution, in its entirety, follows:
Lake Rabun Association
Water Safety Committee Resolutions
Whereas, The Water Safety Committee of the Lake Rabun Association was charged by the Executive Committee of the LRA to evaluate, develop and communicate recommendations regarding wake surf boating activities on Lake Rabun. These recommendations are to be presented to the Executive Committee and subsequently to the Trustees for review and approval for presentation to the LRA general membership at a scheduled LRA membership meeting.
On 7.31.22 all eight members of the Water Safety Committee were present at a meeting at which the following resolution was accepted by motion and unanimously adopted by the WSC:
First, the Water Safety Committee recommends to the Executive Committee that the LRA support State of Georgia legislation that would establish a 200-foot buffer between watercraft engaged in ballasted wake surfing activity and any shoreline, shoreline structure, dock or swimmer. Members of the WSC may cooperate with legislators (or their representatives and assigns) in providing or evaluating information necessary to draft and advance such legislation through the State of Georgia legislature. Such support shall in all ways comply with tax regulations around LRA status as a 501(c)4 organization.
Second, the WSC resolves to develop and implement boating safety and wake surf education materials that will be offered to the Lake Rabun community to communicate best practices in the operation of watercraft, including towed water sports activities and ballasted wake surf activities. Such educational materials are intended to provide resources allowing operation of watercraft in a safe and respectful manner that affords all lake users enjoyment of our waters.
This training will include:
- Operating instruction around unique features of our lake, such as the Narrows, the entrance to Hall’s Boathouse, the narrow entrances to Big Basin, the end of Pigeon Mountain Run closest to Hall’s and Witham Point, and boat church. Maps of the lake will be developed and distributed to illustrate the 200-foot buffer.
- Responsible wake surfing techniques promulgated by the WSC following guidance from WSC wake surf representatives. This will include development of videos on responsible wake surfing and proper wake surf boat operation to minimize impact of large wakes.
- Methods to avoid repetitive wake surf passes, to specifically encourage end-to-end lake routes that minimize wake impact upon any single point on the shoreline.
- Description of safe practices for towed activities (i.e. skiing, tubing and wakeboarding) as well as safe swimming.
- Provide non-binding recommendations regarding the size and weight of wake surf boats suitable for Lake Rabun, in line with similar advice currently available.
The manner, frequency and location of such training will be determined by the WSC and the Life Safety Committee chaired by Michael Crowe.
Pat Hickey, Water Safety Committee Chair