LPA Security Chief Talks Boats

By Susan Thompson

Jerry Armstrong was Lake Panorama’s first security officer in 1969 for one year, before taking other jobs for many years. He then spent 10 years working the LPA security night shift full-time, before stepping into the LPA security chief role in October 2016. In this month’s Q&A, Armstrong talks about boating on Lake Panorama. 

Q: What’s new this year for boaters at Lake Panorama?

A:  LPA and DNR rules for boating remain largely unchanged for 2018. However, DNR has advised us their existing rules regarding unattended vessels will be an enforcement priority for their officers in 2018. DNR rules state vessels may not be left unattended on open water unless they are secured to a dock or a legal mooring buoy. This is primarily a concern for members who like to raft in coves and spend their time in the water, next to the boat.

Lake Panorama does not offer any legal mooring buoys, and members should NOT tie off to LPA’s marker buoys. This means when rafting, at least one responsible operator must remain on the vessel at all times to comply with Iowa Law. Unless the boat is tied securely to a dock, one person must remain on-board.

Q: Can you remind members about the navigational buoys?

A: Members are reminded to observe the navigational buoys. Centerline buoys are intended to mark the channel of the lake, with boaters travelling on the right-hand side of the buoys. This is easy to remember because it is the same as driving on the highway. Centerline buoys are marked with a flashing white light so they are visible at night.

Hazard buoys are placed in areas that are known to be shallow or hazardous. Please be aware these buoys are not a guarantee of exact hazard location, but rather a warning to steer clear of that general area. Some hazard buoys are marked with a flashing amber light to ensure boaters steer clear of these areas.

When boating at night, it’s important to avoid amber lights, and stay immediately to the right of white lights.

Q: What are some common mistakes made by boaters?

A: One common mistake is the misunderstanding about boat capacity. Most boats are rated for a maximum number of persons and a maximum total weight. Boaters must remember they are not allowed to exceed either of these numbers. This is especially relevant with kids and grandkids, who simply don’t weigh a substantial amount. Regardless of how small the passenger is, everyone counts as one passenger in the boat capacity limit.

Q: What items should boat owners have in place before they take their boat out for a ride?

A. Fire extinguishers and floatation devices are both priorities for DNR and LPA, as both are key safety items. Boats with greater than 10 horsepower are required by Iowa law to have at least one Type B-I fire extinguisher on-board the vessel. Some larger boats are required to have one B-II fire extinguisher, or two B-I fire extinguishers, on-board the vessel. Boat owners should check the extinguishers periodically to ensure they remain in a good, useable condition.

All vessels are required to have at least one United States Coast Guard (USCG) approved life jacket for each person on board. In addition, vessels over 16-feet in length must have a throwable floatation device (excluding kayaks and canoes). Iowa Law requires children under 13 years of age wear their life jacket while the vessel is underway.

Boaters are ultimately responsible to comply with all Iowa State Law and can find more information at the DNR’s boating website:   http://www.iowadnr.gov/Things-to-Do/Boating

Q:  Final thoughts for the summer?

A: LPA Security has updated our phone number to 641-757-9035. Please double check your mobile phone contacts to ensure you are using our new number, and contact LPA security with any questions or concerns related to LPA’s rules and regulations. Members are reminded to call 911 in the event of a fire, medical or police emergency. Be safe and enjoy your 2018 season at Lake Panorama!