Reminders on PWC usage on the Lake from the Boat Committee.
There have been quite a few violations issued this year for PWC usage. Boat Patrol has been asked to place particular significance on PWCs this season and going forward. A few important reminders are provided here for everyone’s safety and as a reminder of several core restrictions regarding PWCs on the lake.
PWCs are not allowed on the lake, at any speed, between sunset and sunrise. This means any PWC on the water at those times is subject to violations per the Watercraft Regulations. In other words, when Boat Patrol begins their nightly no-wake laps, PWCs must go in.
PWCs are not allowed to tow any devices at any time, with the exception of towing a stranded boat for emergency purposes (ie., helping a broken down boat back to the dock).
PWCs are subject to all standard regulations on distance from shore and other watercraft, safety, speed, no-wake areas, and all the other general protocols as any other watercraft. This includes distance from each other when riding in tandem, just like every other watercraft.
PWCs are effectively at the bottom of the pecking order for right of way. In short, they must maintain appropriate distance and give way to all other watercraft.
Following in the wake of other boats and crisscrossing waves for jumping etc is prohibited where appropriate distances are not maintained.
PWCs are not allowed to weave through other watercraft traffic other than at idle speed.
An operator must be 14 and have a valid MO Boaters’ ID to operate a PWC, unless the operator was born before January 1, 1984. This includes guests.
Guests using a resident’s PWC are subject to all these same rules; violations by guests count against the resident per the Watercraft Regulations.
You may view all the Watercraft Regulations and specific rules as they apply to watercraft and PWCs at LakeWinnebago.org, under the Boats Tab.
From the Lake Winnebago Boat Committee:
Lake season is here and it’s great to see everyone getting on the water and enjoying all the great sports activities Lake Winnebago has to offer. Water sports is what makes Lake Winnebago unique and fun for everyone. Just a few reminders to ensure we all have a safe and enjoyable season:
· Boat Patrol is working hard to ensure everyone stays safe. Please be patient with them if they pull you over—they are just doing their job and trying to respect the concerns of everyone.
· Please take time to review the Boat Regulations (which can be found on the HOA website, under the Boats tab), and the safety presentation created by the Boat Committee at https://youtube/PnP45KkZQZ8. You can also obtain an copy of the safety class power point from the HOA.
· Just a few reminders of core rules that are critical to the safe use and enjoyment for everyone:
o All traffic on the Lake is counterclockwise. That means no watercraft should be operating in a clockwise fashion anywhere on the Lake on the wake side of the buoys. Boat Patrol has been asked specifically to look for this going forward as this season has brought a lot of traffic not following the correct pattern.
o All traffic in coves, inside the orange buoys, and after dusk anywhere on the lake, is no wake.
o The speed limit is 37 mph for any watercraft.
o Navigation lights are required after dusk. Dock lights should not be used unless you are actually pulling into your dock.
o Plowing is almost always unnecessary as it causes needless waves and bottlenecking of traffic. No wake or on plane is ideal.
o Please be respectful of the City’s late night nuisance ordinances—ie., loud music into the night on the boat.
o Try to avoid coving out in the middle of the lake—that just congests traffic for everyone else. Find a spot out of the way and have fun.
o Be respectful to skiers and others being pulled. Keep a safe distance.
o PWCs are not allowed to jump waves within 150’ of other boaters, are not allowed to weave in and out of traffic, and must be at idle speed within 50’ of other watercraft. PWCs are also at the bottom of the right-of-way rules. So basically, PWCs must give way to any other watercraft on the Lake at all times.
o Non-motorized activities are best inside the buoys, such as kayakes, paddle boards, and so on.
o Please avoid bottlenecking the Lake with tubers and pwcs doing circles in the tighter areas, such as West of the AYC. There is plenty of open water and less clogged spots towards the East to do that.
o The Regulations set forth right-of-way priority for oncoming boats, etc, but, at the end of the day, simply giving way and slowing down when approaching others is the safest outcome for all.
o All ramp gates must be closed and locked after you put your boat in, each time you use them. This helps ensure only those with permission to use our Lake do so. If you have any questions, feel free to contact the HOA.
Previously, the Boat Committee approved extending all 2019 boat permits until 1 June 2020. That meant that if you currently have a 2019 permit on your watercraft, you will not need to renew it until 1 June 2020. This is still in effect.
UPDATE: At this time, the HOA office has created procedures for issuing the 2020 permits. Our first phase was to issue permits to those residents that were new to the lake. The second phase is to start issuing permits to all the residents that currently have a 2019 permit. We will accomplish this in incremental phases. The HOA will be sending out emails to residents in increments of 125 to 150 (alphabetically) to allow them to submit their 2020 boat permit request. This email will include the new Automated Electronic System, which will allow homeowners to apply and submit all required paperwork for boat permits.
Some highlights of the new system: Annual testing will be completed electronically and the system will automatically grade the test prior to allowing you to submit the test. This will avoid the manual grading of the test. As a reminder, last year the HOA passed a rule that every boat user in a household is required to take the annual test. The system will allow you to download proof of insurance, proof of ownership, and the testing process for every person born after January 1, 1984 who operates a watercraft, as well as a copy of their boating safety identification card (which must be obtained from the state of Missouri to be eligible to operate a watercraft on Lake Winnebago).
Since the staff is still working from home, we request that you continue to have patience and that once you receive your email from the HOA, that you do not pass it on to your neighbors. This will allow the staff to work boat permits in a consistent manner.
There remains the option of providing all paperwork, and receiving and taking the written test, manually. However, since he HOA office is currently closed, anyone seeking to complete the 2020 permit process manually will experience delays in receiving test results and permit approvals.
Please note that the Boat Committee has downloaded a video version of the safety class for 2020 to you tube at https://youtu.be/PnP45KkZQZ8, and we ask that all residents take the time to view the video.