Mooring buoys 101 on Lake Windermere

Common issue brought to Lake Windermere Ambassadors was growing number of mooring buoys on the lake

Watershed Wanderings

by Thea Rodgers

Lake Windermere Ambassadors

A common issue brought to the Lake Windermere Ambassadors this summer was about the growing number of mooring buoys on the lake. Several long-time residents voiced concerns about improperly installed moorings, and many are worried this issue will continue to grow in the absence of adequate education. To help address this, we want to share some tips and information about current mooring buoy regulations, so that everyone can be on the same page about them.

A mooring buoy is a type of buoy used to anchor a boat offshore. It is typically installed close to the shoreline as an alternative to using a dock or pier. Mooring buoys are practical methods of boat storage for motorized and non-motorized vessels alike.

A proper mooring is designed to remain in one place, securely attached to the lakebed by a heavy anchor. This minimizes damage to the lakebed by preventing scouring and sediment disturbance. It also ensures the boat and buoy stay within the same designated zoning area throughout the season.

A mooring anchor must be of adequate weight to prevent the boat from dragging it along the lake bottom during high winds or a storm event. A rubber tire filled with concrete, for example, is usually not heavy enough to restrain a moving boat (since concrete is lighter under water), and may shift beneath the surface. When a mooring shifts around, this poses problems for other boaters because it alters the arrangement of boats within a mooring field. This can cause boats to rub against each other, potentially damaging them, or cause boats to shift into areas of sensitive habitat or unsafe moorage.

Local mooring regulations

Mooring buoys are regulated through the Private Buoy Regulations under the Canada Shipping Act, and enforced by Transport Canada. These regulations specify the size, colour, and information that must be listed on a private mooring buoy:

• Must be a minimum width of 15.25 cm (6”) and minimum height of 30.5 cm (12”) above the water surface;

• Must display, on two opposite sides, large capital letters “PRIV” to indicate it is privately owned;

• Must conspicuously display the current name, address and telephone number of the owner of the buoy, in a permanent and legible manner;

• Must have a suitable anchor, constructed so as to remain in position.

Any mooring buoys that do not comply with these regulations, or that have been out of use for two consecutive years, can be removed from any Canadian waters by Transport Canada.

Both the District of Invermere and Regional District of East Kootenay also have zoning bylaws that include surface water zones. These zoning bylaws outline where, and how many, mooring buoys are permitted around the lake.

In addition, the Lake Windermere Management Plan suggests that all mooring buoys should be placed 12 to 30 metres from the natural high water mark, and a minimum of 12 metres (or 39 feet) from any other mooring buoy. This is to help prevent other boats from being damaged in windy conditions, and to allow larger, harder-to-navigate vessels (such as sailboats) the ability to sail out of the mooring field without hazard.

Why is it important to comply with the regulations?

In the event of an accident involving a private buoy, the owner of that buoy may be held liable and fined for any damages resulting from negligent operation or maintenance.

Mooring buoy owners are advised to take all necessary precautions to ensure their buoys conform to federal standards, and are operated and maintained in the proper manner.

Since Lake Windermere is considered a “non-Schedule navigable waterway”, private moorings must never impede boat navigation. Additionally, if a private buoy doesn’t meet the size/identification regulations listed above, it could be flagged for removal by Transport Canada.

The Lake Windermere Ambassadors do encourage all mooring buoy owners to adopt the regulations listed in this article for next spring, in order to help reduce the potential for conflict between user groups and to help increase safety for you and for other boaters.

For information about specific zoning regulations, please view the RDEK’s “Upper Columbia Valley Zoning Bylaw No. 900, 1992” for Lake Windermere, or the District of Invermere’s “Zoning Amendment Bylaw No.1460, 2012”.

For more information about the bylaws and regulations mentioned in this article, please visit our website at www.lakeambassadors.ca/documents, or contact info@lakeambassadors.ca.

Just Posted

Pot smoking teen swerves to miss police vehicle

16 year old apprehended, and put in the care of his mother, after he almost crashes into RCMP

Greyhound to end bus service in B.C., Alberta

Company axing passenger bus and freight services in Prairies, and cutting all but one route in B.C.

France doubles up Croatia 4-2 to win World Cup

Played in Moscow Russia, latest Fifa World Cup marks the highest scoring final since 1966

First Nation pipeline protesters erect ‘tiny homes’ in B.C. Park

Kanahus Manuel and Tiny House Warriors say more homes being constructed in park

Trudeau asks transport minister to tackle Greyhound’s western pullout

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he’s asked Transport Minister Marc Garneau to find solutions in Greyhound Canada’s absence.

Wartime Wednesdays

Invermere’s Elinor Florence investigates stories from our wartime past

Trudeau blasts Putin, Russia following Finland summit but stays mum on Trump

Strong words come one day after a controversial summit between Putin and Trump in Finland

Temperature records break across southern B.C. as heat continues

Whistler broke a 70-year-old record high of 32.2 C with a temperature of 32.9 C

Hawaii volcano boat tours continue after ‘lava bomb’ injuries

“An explosion occurred near the shoreline hurling hot lava rocks towards the boat and injuring several passengers.”

Trump returns from summit with Putin to forceful criticism

“Shameful,” ”disgraceful,” ”weak,” were a few of the comments. Makes the U.S. “look like a pushover,” said GOP Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee.

Obama to deliver Mandela address in likely rebuke to Trump

Former U.S. President Barack Obama Monday praised Kenya’s president and opposition leader for working together but said this East African country must do more to end corruption.

Missing B.C. Serval cat creates buzz online, pleas for help

Aquila, an African Serval, disappeared from a Fernie, B.C. backyard sometime on Friday, July 13.

Trudeau’s youth council divided over Trans Mountain pipeline purchase

A letter signed by 16 past and present members was made public today, asking the federal government to reverse course

Most Read