Keep these rules for lake fun and safety

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Now that summer is here, boaters, floaters, paddlers and pedalers, not to mention swimmers and fishers, all are sharing the lake and will be for the hot months to come. And just as the previous sentence breaks some rules in the name of rhyming (“floaters” are something in your eye and “fisher” is the name of a mammal) so there already are some people breaking Canyon Lake’s boating rules in the name of fun and convenience.

But rules are important for everyone’s safety – especially speeding rules; which is why Marine Patrol Captain Guil Espiritu says his officers’ main focus on both the Main Lake and East Bay is speeding.

A waterfront resident reported on Facebook recently that he had observed an inboard ski boat speeding through the length of East Bay at about 40 mph, nearly hitting a child on a kayak near Indian Beach. The reckless action took place after sundown; another waterfront resident confirmed seeing the same boat.

The first resident reported the action to Securitas and the POA and requested that a Marine Patrol boat be kept in the East Bay until 10 p.m. at night. (This request was approved.) He also asked other waterfront residents to keep an eye out for the speeding boat; which reportedly had done this before. Knowing the rules and reporting the rule-breakers is an important part of lake life.

This enhanced form of “neighborhood watch” takes place in at least two Facebook groups: Canyon Lake Community and Canyon Lake Neighborhood Watch, both of which have in the range of 2,000 members.

Canyon Lake boaters who are speeding, have too many people on their boat, or who are annoying waterfront owners with loud music and offensive language or behavior can be sure they are observed and reported – at least on Facebook.

So what are the rules? Every boat owner is expected to sign off on reading the Lake and Marina rules before they get their registration. But what about friends and relatives who borrow boats to go out for the day?

Here is a rundown of some of the more essential boating rules, summarized for quick reading. There are a number of rules that aren’t listed for space reasons, including rules for skiing/wakeboarding, etc. The official rules can be read at www.canyonlakepoa.com. (Click on “Governance,” then on “Governing Documents,” then on “Rules and Regulations.” Lake and Marina rules start on page 80.)

“Violation of these rules and regulations may result in the removal of any boat from the lake at the owner’s and/or responsible member’s expense,” the document states.

  • All lake users must abide by Marine Patrol directives, written or verbal. The Marine Patrol Captain may, at his/her discretion, make temporary changes to the Lake Use Rules to ensure the health and safety of all lake users.
  • Load capacity (passengers and/or weight) must not exceed Coast Guard standards for any boat. Length times width divided by 15 is the approximate number of persons allowed.
  • Main Lake ski area speed limit is 35 mph during almanac hours sunrise to sunset; 5 mph during almanac hours sunset to sunrise and during times of restricted visibility. The speed limit on East Bay, coves and all other areas is 5 mph.
  • All persons under 13 years of age must wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved lifejacket recommended for their weight while in any vessel.
  • Noise level limits have been established for both boats and for boaters playing music. Excessive noise will be determined by Marine Patrol. No boat shall operate with excessive noise. Motors must be equipped with adequate water-cooled and water-muffled systems. Noise level must not exceed the current standards set forth in Section 654.05 of the Harbors and Navigation Code. Radios, stereos and other sound emitting devices shall not exceed an acceptable noise level.
  • All boats must yield to Marine Patrol vessels when emergency lights are flashing. A sailboat has the right of way over a powerboat in all situations except when the sailboat is overtaking the powerboats and when a powerboat has another vessel in tow, in which case, the sailboat must yield. Powerboats towing skiers or similar devices have the right of way over other powerboats.
  • All boats shall follow a counter-clockwise pattern, keeping shoreline on the right at all times. Any boat NOT towing a skier may cut across the high-speed area, but must yield right of way to all boats operating in the counter-clockwise pattern. No 180-degree or 360-degree turns except as required by ski pattern or skier pickup.
  • Rowboats and other slow moving craft must stay close to shoreline.
  • Use of water devices is allowed in designated areas only. Persons may be towed on a flotation device at 5 mph in the areas not designated for water skiing. Coast Guard approved lifejackets must be worn at all times by the person(s) being towed. Use of all water devices is subject to the discretion of the Marine Patrol.
  • Towing of any device is prohibited during hours between almanac sunset and sunrise and during times of restricted visibility.
  • All vessels, including boats, rowboats, kayaks, canoes and any other vessel permitted to be on the lake at night, are required to display navigation lights between almanac sunset and sunrise and during times of restricted visibility.
  • Association docks, parks and/or common facilities are available for docking or anchoring with a properly registered boat during regular park hours. A member staying at the Campground may use the Campground docks for overnight boat docking. No other CLPOA docks may be used for this purpose. Lodge rental docks are restricted to slip holders and their guests.
  • No boats shall be allowed to anchor, drift, or come to rest in between the center line buoys or within 20 feet of any buoy in the East Bay.
  • Mid-channel buoys must be passed on the boat’s port (left) side. No one shall tie up to, move or damage any CLPOA-owned buoy. The use of personal anchor buoys for docking a boat is prohibited during almanac sunset to sunrise, except at the Campground.
  • Common docks, common beaches and/or other CLPOA common property shall not be sites for cleaning, painting or repairing boats, equipment or items of any kind, including private dock assembly.
  • Towing of occupied flotation devices through the causeway tunnel is prohibited.
  • No person shall operate any vessel or any other water device in a reckless or negligent manner so as to endanger the life, limb or property of any person. This includes, but is not limited to, riding on the bow, gunwale, or transom of a vessel underway, entering a marked swim area or creating excessive wakes.
  • Non-motorized sailboats, rowboats, kayaks, canoes, paddle boards and pedal boats require one approved lifejacket for each person on board. Persons under 13 years of age must wear a lifejacket.
  • Windsurfers, pedal boats and paddle boards are allowed in all 5 mph or less areas only.

Save the date for upcoming ski shows

ShowCal Skiers gets special exemption from the lake’s regular boating rules for their ski shows and practices – but they also have specially trained safety officers on hand. Members Janae Abraham, Mary Tortomasi, Donica Loney, Britt Abraham, Stacy Norred and Destiny Loney invite Canyon Lakers to their next ski show on Saturday, June 18, at 5 p.m. in the North Ski Area. They also will be performing at Taco Tuesday on June 21.

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Sharon Rice