LPA Members Weigh in on Boats

By Susan Thompson

Of the 503 Lake Panorama Association members who responded to an online survey last November and December, 467 answered the four questions related to boats on Lake Panorama.  

When asked to describe their opinion on the overall boating safety on Lake Panorama, 22 percent said they believe it is highly safe, with 60 percent saying it is moderately safe. Ten percent said it is moderately unsafe, two percent said highly unsafe, and six percent didn’t have an opinion.

For the past year or more, LPA boat rules have been under review regarding three items, all of which were addressed in the survey. LPA rules currently limit runabout/ski boats to a length of 24 feet, including swim platform, and pontoon boats to a length of 27 feet, including swim platform. Motor size on pontoon boats is limited to 200 hp for an outboard motor, and 299 hp for inboard and inboard/outboard motors.

Regarding runabouts and ski boats, in recent years LPA members could purchase a “22-class” boat and comply with the LPA rules. These 22-class boats were built with a 22-foot hull and a two-foot swim platform, totaling 24 feet in length. Now 22-class boats are growing in length by 2-10 inches, and the inclusion of a two-foot swim platform pushes total length from 24’ 2” to 24’ 10”. Members who want to upgrade their older 22-class boat to a new model must step down to a smaller version, or modify their swim platform.

When asked what best describes their level of support for an increase in runabout/ski boat length by up to 10 inches, 16 percent said they strongly support and 23 percent said they somewhat support this move. On the flip side, 22 percent said they do not support and 24 percent said they strongly do not support this move. This means 39 percent either strongly or somewhat support allowing longer runabout/ski boats, and 46 percent either do not or strongly do not support an increase in length. Fifteen percent said they don’t know.

One topic raised in numerous comments made by members completing the survey is the larger waves caused by boats used for wake surfing. Longer boats aren’t necessarily required for wake surfing, as adjustments can be made to boats to produce the deeper waves needed. Seventy-four respondents said they or their family members wake surf, and 64 percent of this group supported allowing runabout/ski boat lengths to increase up to 10 inches.

Turning to pontoons, in recent years LPA members could purchase a 25-class pontoon boat and comply with the LPA rules. With swim platform, these pontoon boats totaled 27 feet in length. Some models of 25-class boats now are growing in length by several inches, resulting in measurements up to 27’ 6”. Members who want to purchase high-end 25-class pontoon boats now must step down to a smaller version, or modify the vessel. 

When asked what best describes their level of support for an increase in pontoon boat length by up to 10 inches, 18 percent of respondents said they strongly support and 26 percent said they somewhat support this move. That brings support of an increase in pontoon boat length to 44 percent. By contrast, 21 percent do not support and another 21 percent strongly do not support such a move, for a total of 42 percent. Fourteen percent of respondents said they don’t know.

Triple pontoon boats are becoming common on Lake Panorama. Most can achieve speeds of 40 mph under current engine size limits. However, a few models are unable to reach this speed because of the pontoon design. The survey asked what best described a respondent’s level of support for an increase in pontoon boat motor size. Eight percent said they strongly support, and 23 percent said they somewhat support allowing an increase in pontoon boat motor size for a combined support level of 31 percent. By comparison, 32 percent said they do not support and 24 percent said they strongly do not support an increase in pontoon boat motor size, for a combined level of 56 percent opposed to this move. Another 13 percent said they don’t know.

The LPA water safety committee and LPA board of directors will be reviewing the results of this survey throughout the spring. The spring water safety committee meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 8, at the LPA office, 5006 Panorama Drive. All LPA board and committee meetings offer an open forum as the first order of business. Members are welcome to offer input during open forum, or email concerns to the LPA office at lpa@lakepanorama.org.

The survey also asked for opinions on the LPA operation, amenities, and proposed upgrades to the LPA water infrastructure. Details on those portions of the survey were shared in the March Lake Panorama Times. A link to the full survey results will be released to the LPA membership later this spring. 

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