Boating can be fun but safety should be a top priorityWeather kept boaters at bay on opening season. BY CHUCK TUCK | JOURNAL REPORTER The first official day of boating season got underway quietly on May 5 to a group of dedicated boaters on Lake Stevens.
Ron Spliethof of Lake Stevens enjoys river fishing, but decided to bring his boat to the lake on opening day for some relaxation and fun.
“I’ll bet there are no more than a dozen boats out on the lake,” said Spliethof.
Staying close to shore is his secret to good fishing on the lake.
“Fishing was good today,” said Spliethof who caught no less than five bass in the afternoon.
As a sport fisherman, he has enjoyed coming to the lake over the years to “catch and release” the fish to ensure there’s plenty for the next outing.
Boating is an activity enjoyed by many for a variety of reasons from relaxation to sport.
Keith and Tracy Bertilson of Lake Stevens took their boat out for opening day to enjoy their afternoon with fellow boaters.
The weather wasn’t the best which may have contributed to the low turn out on the lake but at least it wasn’t raining.
“I think the weather kept a lot of people away,” said Keith.
With the start of a new boating season underway, boaters and other recreational watercraft users need to keep in mind that safety comes before all else on the water.
Water safety guidelines and boating regulations are posted at the boat launches for anyone wanting a quick refresher on the do’s and don’t’s of boating.
Since accidents can happen quickly, and a day of fun can turn tragic in an instance, everyone on a boat must wear an approved flotation device.
The day of fun was cut short on May 4 in the morning hours when a father and son went out on the lake for some quality time together.
According to the Lake Stevens Fire Department, the two boaters were caught off guard when a gust of wind sent the father overboard.
The son was able to reach his father and hang on to him, but was unable to lift him aboard.
The rescue team was dispatched and able to reach them in time and assess the status of the two boaters.
At the time of the incident, neither of the boaters was wearing a lifejacket. They were checked out and were found to be alright.
The two were lucky this time, but many boaters are not as lucky.
Lake Stevens boating regulations and tips:
•No faster than 35 mph.
•8 mph during darkness.
•All vessels towing water-skiers must travel in a counterclockwise direction.
•Vessels and water-skiers exceeding eight mph shall remain 100 feet from shorelines, swimmers, bathers, wharfs, diver's flags, safety buoys, other vessels, floating objects, swimming areas or other designated areas.
•Vessels towing water-skiers shall have an observer 10 years of age or older.
•When approaching or leaving a shoreline or wharf the vessel shall travel at an angle of not less than 45 degrees nor more than 60 degrees with the shoreline on the right hand side of the vessel.
•All persons shall remain seated while vessel is underway.
•All motorized boats shall yield the right-of-way to sailboats, rowboats, water-skiers, swimmers, and divers.
•Swimming is prohibited within the water-ski course during waterskiing hours.
•Water-skiers and persons on personal watercraft are required to wear type I, II, or III personal flotation devices (Coast Guard approved).
•All vessels are required to have readily available personal flotation device type I, II, or III (Coast Guard approved) for all persons on board.
•Vessels 16 feet or longer must also carry at least one type IV throw-able personal flotation device (Coast Guard approved).
•Fire extinguishers (Coast Guard approved) are required on all vessels with internal combustion motors.
•All internal combustion motors shall be equipped with a muffler.
•A red 12 inch square Skier Down Flag mounted on a two foot pole must be displayed when skier is down.
•All persons on board a personal watercraft must wear an approved personal flotation device.
•Remember you must be at least 14 years old to operate a personal watercraft.
•Always remain a safe distance (minimum 100 feet) from other boats, buoys, skiers and swimming areas.
•Please observe the “No Wake” zones near boat launches and docks.
•To help reduce noise, please refrain from operating your personal watercraft close to shorelines with residences or during early morning hours.