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.
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.
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
Meeting was adjourned at approximately 8:10PM
Jim Nold, Secretary