LPA Security Chief Talks Water Issues

Jerry Armstrong, LPA Security Chief

By Susan Thompson 

In 1969, Jerry Armstrong was Lake Panorama’s first security officer for one year, before taking other jobs for many years. He then worked the LPA security night shift full-time for 10 years, 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 2019. However, members may want to note that last year some boaters incurred tickets from the DNR on a couple of relatively new items. 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 means when rafting in coves, at least one responsible operator must remain on the vessel at all times to comply with Iowa Law. The other item was the use of blue lights on boats. This is prohibited because blue lights are to be reserved for law enforcement and emergency vehicles.  

Q: Please explain the navigational buoys and hazard buoys on Lake Panorama. 

A: Centerline buoys 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. 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. 

So remember, when boating at night, avoid amber lights, and stay immediately to the right of white lights.

In 2018, a new buoy map was proposed by the water safety committee and approved by the LPA board.  Buoys will be placed in 2019 according to that map. LPA members should be aware no changes to the map will be made this year unless there is a correction of a hazard buoy. Call the LPA office at 641-755-2301 with questions. 

Also new for 2019 is a rule adopted by the LPA board concerning the moving of buoys by members. The rule reads: “Intentional vandalism or unauthorized relocation of buoys shall result in an automatic 3rd offense under LPA rules 5.1(f)(3). In the case of vandalism, the offending member shall pay both the stated fine and damages.” A 3rd offense fine is $250 and loss of the member’s boating privileges for the season. 

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 young people who weigh less than adults. 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 launch their boat this spring?

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 onboard the vessel. Some larger boats are required to have one B-II fire extinguisher, or two B-I fire extinguishers, onboard 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 2019 boating season?

A: A couple of things. First, the Iowa DNR has a new online licensing system for hunting and fishing license needs. The DNR has recently launched GoOutdoorsIowa, which will make it easier to purchase, store and renew your licenses, view hunting and fishing regulations, and report harvests. The GoOutdoorsIowa app can be downloaded via the AppStore or Google Play.

Second, any boat leaving any lake (including canoes, kayaks, etc.) should be cleaned, all compartments drained, and the vessel should dry at least five days prior to re-entering Lake Panorama or show they have not been on an infested lake, have no water in compartments, no plant debris or mud, or any other sign of potential contamination. This is an Iowa law and is enforceable with a $500 fine. The LPA also has set fines for violators and for falsified information on questionnaires.

LPA Security’s phone number is 641-757-9035. Please double check your mobile phone contacts to make sure you are using this number. 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 2019 season at Lake Panorama!