Water Safety and Quality Report for 2023As we wrap up another summer season at Lake Burton, we must take a moment to review the state of our water safety and water quality initiatives for 2023. At the Lake Burton Civic Association, we prioritize our community members' safety and preserving our beautiful lake environment.
Here's a summary of our findings and efforts from the past year.
Water PatrolThis year, we allocated $15,000 for Water Patrol, covering each weekend from Memorial Day to Labor Day, costing $50 per hour. We aimed to have two boats patrolling the lake, one staffed by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the other by the Sheriff's Department. However, we faced a few challenges.
The Sheriff's boat, unfortunately, proved too small for pulling over boats, and its department still requires additional training to operate a patrol independently. As a result, the Sheriff deputies primarily rode along with DNR staff on DNR's boat almost every weekend, totaling 227.5 hours and costing $11,375.
Both the Sheriff and DNR reported recurring issues similar to previous years:
- An increase in Boating Under the Influence (BUI) compared to last year.
- Multiple cases of children aged 12 and under not wearing life jackets on boats.
- Incidents involving children being pulled behind boats on various devices without life jackets.
- 28 violations for violating the 100-foot rule.
- No violations were cited for violating the 200-foot rule for wake boats, although some boats were pulled over and advised about HB121.
- Several cases of boats not having proper lights or registration.
- 87 Citations
- 166 Warnings
- 22 Instances of kids without flotation devices
- 38 No Wake violations
- 28 Violations of the 100-foot rule
- 32 Light violations
- 11 Flotation device violations
- 31 Rules of the Road violations
- 11 Boating Under the Influence (BUI) cases
- 2 BUI Child Endangerment cases
Both the Sheriff and DNR recommend distributing rules to boaters next year, emphasizing rules of the waterway and the use of life jackets on all types of watercraft, including paddle boards, kayaks, and canoes. Sgt. Cody Jones reported more violations and unsafe boat operations this year. Fortunately, there were no drownings or deaths on the lake. Still, there was one accident involving two adult males crashing into Burton Island due to boating under the influence.
Boating Education through Videos and Social MediaThis summer, we launched an outstanding series of campaigns through social media channels, focusing on new wake boat rules and rules of the waterways. We extend a huge shout-out to the Communications Committee for their excellent and effective communications. We allocated $2,680 for the HB121 video, which was covered by our $15,000 budget for Water Safety this year.
Water QualityIn collaboration with the Riverkeepers, LBCA organized training sessions for volunteers to become certified testers for specific criteria on the lake. These tests will complement those conducted by the EPA, with results uploaded through an app. We now have seven teams of testers who will begin testing for Dissolved Oxygen, water temperatures, and pH levels this fall. The Water Safety budget will cover training costs and test materials this year.
As we look forward to the coming year, let's all continue to prioritize the safety of our lake and its users. Thank you for your ongoing support and dedication to keeping Lake Burton a safe and beautiful place for all!
Chair, Water Safety & Quality Committee
Lake Burton Civic Association