Shannon McGinty, Lake Windermere Ambassadors program coordinator, and summer student Keri Malynchuk, show off the new bouy at Kinsmen Beach during Paddle Palooza last Saturday, May 11th. The bouy will be in Lake Windermere this summer, and Lake Windermere Ambassadors urge boat drivers to pay heed to the message. Photo by Katie Watt

Slow down to avoid watery conflicts

Lake Windermere Ambassadors instal new buoys on Lake Windermere

Dear Editor:

With this year’s slower, but seemingly steady march towards warmer weather, the lives of everyone who frequents our area will slowly and steadily gravitate towards our beloved lake, Lake Windermere. Her shores and her beaches will soon be filled with year round tenants, second homeowners and vacationing tourists all wishing to find their slice of lake paradise. However, no area of the lake is busier and more congested then Taynton Bay. From the mouth of the bay to the parking lot’s Lift Station, Taynton Bay and Kinsmen Beach are a favourite stop off point on your hot summer day.

This congestion can lead to not only confusion, but conflicts and even confrontations out on the water. Over the years the Lake Windermere Ambassadors have had numerous letters, emails and conversations from concerned citizens from both the non-motorized and motorized community alike regarding the safety and comfort within Taynton Bay, that common sense boating practices are not being followed in the confined area of Taynton Bay. In 2017 a very close call was witnessed by one of The Ambassadors board members which set the works in motion. In 2018, the Lake Windermere Ambassadors took action to ensure the safety of all users. With the support from the DOI, RDEK, Provincial and Federal Governments, the Ambassadors purchased and installed three new ‘Slow / No Wake’ bouys at the mouth of Taynton Bay. Much like the ‘Swimmers only’ section of the bay, this new Slow / No Wake Zone area will help to create a safer, more user-friendly part of the lake for all, even the motorized users, to enjoy.

The meaning behind ‘Slow / No Wake’ is not to exclude motorized boats from the bay, but rather to minimize the impact your boat has on other users in the most congested area of the lake. As we know, all power boats, especially the new wakeboard boats coming on the market, can leave a massive

wake behind them. Even at slower speeds the wake left behind can be quite large to a smaller vessel or non motorized piece of equipment. For example, as you are offloading passengers at Kinsmen Beach, the wake which followed your triumphant entrance into the bay is still there, tossing around paddlers in a small canoe or sloshing around a family’s lunch cooler in a small runabout which is anchored in the bay, and that is not cool!

As a powerboat operator, we have a responsibility to ensure our wake does not disturb other users in our immediate vicinity, and that each operator is responsible for his or her wake. These three bouys are placed to remind all boaters who are in the bay to pay attention to your speed and wake, and to remember to lower your engines RPM’s to the point at which no wake is present behind your boat while in the bay.

Whether you are a toddler in water wings, trying SUP yoga for the first time, a free swimmer trying to shave a couple minutes off of your course record, or you are ‘out for a rip’ with the boys in a large wakeboard boat… there are a multitude of usages for our beloved lake. It is important that all users be allowed the space to find theirs in a safe and comfortable surrounding. Lake Windermere’s new Slow / No Wake zone is intended to provide all lake users with a safe, calm and quiet area to relax in and enjoy your favourite water activities. Without the regular disturbances and safety concerns which through common sense boating practices, belong out in open water on the lake.

Shawn Ridsale,

Vice president

Lake Windermere Ambassadors

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