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LAKE GASTON WATER SAFETY COUNCIL
Member Meeting Minutes
May 27, 2021

Opening – 6:06PM

President Brian Goldsworthy welcomed members and guests to the first face-to-face general membership meeting since September 25, 2019, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
This meeting was held on a Thursday, rather than our “usual” Wednesday, because the Kennon House is now closed on Wednesdays.
Brian led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Wyatt Andrews gave a devotion
There were 33 people in attendance, including 7 guests.
The guests were: Herb & Lin Harbold, Jeff & Paula Taylor, Roxanne Marshall, Karl Noyes, and John Franz.

Guest Speaker

Our speaker was our own John Dyckman, Vice President of the LGWSC and Commander of the USCG Auxiliary Flotilla 93.  John talked about some current water safety issues affecting the Lake Gaston area.

Operators of recreational vessels less than 26 feet in length will be required to use an engine cut-off switch (ECOS) and associated ECOS link (ECOSL) as of April 1, 2021, as the U.S. Coast Guard implements a law passed by Congress.  The ECOS and ECOSL prevent runaway vessels and the threats they pose.  The ECOSL attaches the vessel operator to a switch that shuts off the engine if the operator is displace from the helm (We’re all familiar with cut-off switch on jet skis, also called kill switches).  The ECOSL is usually a lanyard-style cord that attaches to an ECOS either in close proximity to the helm or on the outboard motor itself if the vessel is operated by a tiller.  Thus, the ECOSL should be attached to the boat operator except when the vessel engine is off, at slow (no-wake) speeds, or docking/loading/unloading the boat.  It is still unclear how enforcing authorities (NCWRC and Virginia DWR) will enforce this law.

Virginia has passed and will implement a new law requiring fees at their public boat launch sites effective April 2022.  Unless you have a Virginia registered boat you may be required to pay this fee (unknown amount yet) when using their ramps.  This may also include canoes, kayaks and paddleboards being launched from Virginia ramps. Considering that both North Carolina and Virginia fishing licenses are valid anywhere on Lake Gaston, it is unknown if North Carolina registered boats will be granted free access on Virginia ramps on Lake Gaston.

The busy boating season is upon us.  The USCG Auxiliary and the LGWSC have already received complaints of reckless jet ski operation and wake boat “wave” damage to shorelines, boathouses, piers, boats and (potentially) swimmers and people.  Please practice safe and courteous boating.  Remember, jet ski operators must be ≥ 14 years of age and completed an approved boating safety course.

The USCG Flotilla 93 conducts a monthly boating safety course at the Longbridge VFD.  Their classes have been full.  John and Debbie Dyckman brought some free flyers and handouts for meeting attendees, including some reflective paddle stickers.  The Flotilla 93 also conducts free safety exams on your vessels on request.  They will come to your home, to you homeowners’ associations meetings, etc. to do this.  If they find a deficiency in your boat, they will inform you what needs to be corrected (no punishment).  When corrected, they will come back, re-inspect and give you the safety inspection sticker for your boat.

If you witness unsafe boating practices, if possible, inform the perpetrators; or, take a video and provide to NCWRC and Virginia DWR.

Business Meeting

Brian provided a short summary of Board activities and introduced Board members present.

Hundreds of water safety brochures were compiled by the Board and have been handed out to greater than 20 local marinas, boat dealers and realtors.

Debbie Andrews, our treasurer reported that we have a current checking account balance of $5,652.15.  This year we have already spent >$2500.00 for printing of brochures and handouts, with more to come.

Our LGWSC website receives hundreds of hits monthly, which shows good outreach to the public.  Most hits are from North Carolina and Virginia, but some come from all across the country.  The website, though, doesn’t replace our in-person presence around the lake.

Not-so-good news.  Council membership is low and we need some new Board members to fill the vacating positions of President and Secretary.  The future of the Water Safety Council is, perhaps, in jeopardy.  Should/could we join with the Lake Gaston Association?  Would this affect the critical financial donations from Dominion Energy and Virginia Beach?  These questions are being looked into.

The rising costs of our dinner meetings are a concern.  Is this keeping members from coming to meetings?  By a show of hands, most attendees wanted to continue coming to the Kennon House.  Brian, though, said he will speak with Littleton Food & Spirits about their possibility of hosting a dinner meeting.

The John 3:16 Center will be hosting some summer camps for kids and has inquired if the LGWSC might provide some water safety training sessions on the following dates in 2021: June 14, June 21, July 14, July 21 and August 14.  These would be good venues for our safety trailer as there were no 2020 LGA Lakeside Learning Sessions for middle school students due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  More to follow.

50:50 drawing.   Dough Hughes won the drawing and took home $30.00

Adjournment

Meeting was adjourned at approximately 8:10PM

Respectively Submitted

Jim Nold, Secretary

Shouldn't have to say this but……

 

The @NCWildlife will participate in a nationwide campaign July 2–4 called Operation Dry Water. The mission of the national campaign is to promote sobriety while boating & educate boaters about the dangers of BUI of alcohol or drugs. #ODW21 More: buff.ly/2T2soaa

Our June monthly meeting will be on Thursday! July 1.  As a reminder, Kennon House is closed on Wednesdays. Keep reading for an update.   

The Lake Gaston Water Safety Council monthly membership meeting will be held Thursday July 12021 at the Kennon House Restaurant in Gasburg, Virginia.  The meeting begins at 6 PM, starting with a Dutch-treat dinner.  Our guest speaker will be Officers from North Carolina Wildlife Resources and Virginia Department of Wildlife Recourses to talk about laws and other items of interest at Lake Gaston and the surrounding areas.  The public is welcome to attend.  Please contact either Brian Goldsworthy 919 302-6511, or John Dyckman 252 537-9877 if you are planning to attend the meeting.

 

The Board agreed to continue dinner meetings at Kennon House.  Dennis has offered to open up just for us on Wednesday’s starting July 28, 2021.  It’s a night out for most of us.   The price will remain $24.50 which includes nonalcoholic drink, taxes and gratuity.   

 

We hope to see you on July 1.   There have already been 3 boat accidents on the lake.  Bring your questions for our speakers.   

ALL VESSELS MUST CARRY A READILY ACCESSIBLE (AT HAND, UNWRAPPED) U.S. COAST GUARD APPROVED AND SERVICEABLE LIFE JACKET OF THE PROPER SIZE FOR EVERY PERSON ON BOARD.

FEDERAL REGULATIONS REQUIRE CHILDREN UNDER THE AGE OF 13 WEAR A U.S. COAST GUARD APPROVED LIFE JACKET ALL THE TIME WHEN UNDERWAY (not anchored or docked) ON ANY SIZE VESSEL.

A Children's Life Jacket Loaner Program, sponsored by the Lake Gaston Water Safety Council, is in place at the following locations to promote life jacket safety: Bracey at Americamps, Holly Grove Marina and Lake Gaston Water Sports at Poplar Creek; Gasburg at The Club; Henrico at Washburn's Marina and Sherwood Forest; and Littleton at Morningstar Marina at Eaton Ferry, Outdoor World and Stonehouse Timber Lodge. CLICK HERE for more details about the Children's Life Jacket Loaner Program.

IN BOTH NORTH CAROLINA AND VIRGINIA A CHILD MUST BE AT LEAST 14 TO OPERATE A PERSONAL WATERCRAFT (PWC). CHILDREN 14 AND 15 YEARS OLD MAY OPERATE A PWC IF THEY CARRY PROOF OF AGE AND THE CERTIFICATE OF COMPLETION OF A RECOGNIZED SAFE BOATING COURSE. ALL PERSONS ON A PWC MUST WEAR A U.S. COAST GUARD APPROVED LIFE JACKET. THE LIFE JACKET MUST HAVE ALL FASTENERS FASTENED.

All powered vessels operating before sunrise and after sunset must display proper lighting which includes the red and green navigation lights and all-around white stern light. All other vessels (canoes, kayaks, rowboats, and sailboats) must have at least a visible white light.

Personal Watercraft (PWC) are not to be operated before sunrise or after sundown.

Water-skiing, knee-boarding, towed floats, and wakeboards are allowable between one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset in Virginia and one hour before sunrise and one hour after sunset in North Carolina. Special care should be given to ensure that towed persons can be clearly seen when in the water.

Every vessel is required to have an audible device for sounding an alarm or signal such as a whistle, horn or bell. Every vessel should have a device for visually signaling for aid such as an orange flag, orange Life Preserver, mirror/reflector or flare.

Every boater should be alert for and offer assistance to any boater or swimmer in distress.

Every powered vessel must be equipped with a properly charged, U.S. Coast Guard approved Type B-I or B-II fire extinguisher. Vessels 26-40 feet must have two Type B-I or one Type B-II.

Most vessels carry a rating plate that identifies the number of persons that can be safely aboard. The number of persons on board and the number of persons being towed (on floats, skis or any other towable) cannot exceed the number of people for which the vessel is rated.

The above requirements apply to Personal Watercraft (PWC) as well. If the PWC is rated for three, then two can be on the PWC with one being towed. If the PWC is rated for two then only one person can be on the PWC with one being towed.

In NC if there is no rearview mirror, then an observer is required on PWCs and recommended for other vessels. In Virginia, there is no language regarding rearview mirrors in the law. The Virginia law requires those being towed to wear a Life jacket unless there is an observer.

U.S. Coast guard, Virginia conservation Police and NC Wildlife Officers are authorized to cite operators for reckless operation for speed causing unsafe conditions or operation causing peril to others.

When a vessel is underway no person should sit, stand, or lay outside the enclosed seating area, i.e. above the motor or outside the gated area on pontoon and deck boats.

It is illegal to use docking lights when underway.

It is illegal for boaters, PWC operators and skiers to jump vessel wakes. It is unsafe to tow skiers or persons on floats under bridges.

Maintain "NO WAKE" idle speeds at all bridges (strictly enforced), in proximity to stopped enforcement officers (strictly enforced) and when within proximity to swimmers, skiers down, anchored vessels, docks, and marina areas. PWCs are not to e operated within 50 feet in Virginia and 100 feet in North Carolina of docks, shorelines, other vessels or swimmers. The vessel operator is liable for any damage caused by his vessel to other persons or property. Do not operate in excess of safe speed when entering channels, coves or congested areas.

Be alert for buoys and become familiar with their messages. It is unlawful to tie up or moor to buoys. It is unlawful to move buoys.

It is unlawful to tie up to or moor to bridges.

Sailboats not under power and boats propelled by oars or paddles have the right of way.

Any accident involving physical injury, death, or damage exceeding the value of $2000 in NC or in VA, must be reported to the property state agency (NC Wildlife Resources or VA Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries).

Many of you knew Jack was a long time volunteer Board member with the Roanoke Wildwood Volunteer Fire Department.  In recognition of his service, the RWVFD has named their Board room in Jack's honor.  There are two doors to enter and both are so identified to recognize his exemplary service.

 

 

Become a Member of the Lake Gaston Water Safety Council

Memberships are $5.00 per person - $10.00 per family $10.00 per Business.