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Hope you can join us on Wednesday, August 25 for a Dutch treat dinner beginning at 6:00 PM at the Kennon House.  Come a few minutes early and see the RWVFD new rescue boat.  Fire Chief Lorenzo Wilkins will be out guest speaker.  His presentation will be about how the department trains for water rescues on Lake Gaston.   

June Membership Meeting Minutes at the Kennon House

Member Meeting Minutes
July 01, 2021

Opening – 6:10PM

President Brian Goldsworthy welcomed members and guests to the general membership meeting.
This "June" meeting was held on a Thursday (July 1st), rather than our "usual" Wednesday, because the Kennon House has been closed on Wednesdays.  However, starting with the next general membership meeting on July 28, it will again be held on Wednesday as Dennis said he will open the Kennon House just for the LGWSC.
Brian led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Wyatt Andrews gave a devotion
There were 41 people in attendance, including guests and speakers.
New members present were Bob Williams, Dennis Gaul, and Karl Noyes
The guests were: Becky Fries, Bill and Pat Straub, Gary Keith, Doug Burtt, and John Franz.

Guest Speakers

 NCWRC Sgt. Richard Creech and Jacob Long, and from VADWR were Matt Sandy and Jessica Fariss

Our speakers were conservation officers from the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) and Virginia Division Wildlife Resources (VADWR).  From NCWRC were Sgt. Richard Creech and Jacob Long, and from VADWR were Matt Sandy and Jessica Fariss.  The officers spoke about water safety accidents occurring on Lake Gaston.

Virginia DWR – Matt Sandy and Jessica Fariss

In 2020, the first Covid pandemic year, there was lots of activity on the lake.  There were many tubing accidents including 2-3 that required medical flights to hospitals.  There was one boating collision fatality on Lake Gaston in 2020.

In this year, 2021, there has been 1 fatality which involved a visitor from Ohio who went canoeing without a life jacket (PFD).  The canoe capsized and he drowned.

In Virginia paddleboards are required to have a PFD either on the operator or attached to the board.

Recreational marijuana is now legal in Virginia and it can be used while boating.  But, conservation officers can and will ticket users if they're operating a vessel in an unsafe manner = OWI (operating while intoxicated).

In Virginia there is a 50-foot no-wake law for boats and jet skis.

In 2022 Virginia will implement an access fee at their public Virginia boat ramps.  In other words, if you don't have a Virginia registered vessel you will be charged a fee (amount to be determined) to launch your boat, kayak, etc. at the ramp.  On Lake Gaston, however, because there is reciprocity for fishing with either a Virginia or North Carolina fishing license, if you have an NC fishing license you will be exempt from the fee.

The federal government has a "kill switch" law requiring the engine cut-off switch (ECOS) lanyard to be attached to the vessel operator of vessels less than 26 feet in length.  Virginia conservation officers recognize this law and encourage boaters to follow it, but they will not enforce it on the water.

There is a statewide shortage of conservation officers in Virginia.  Virginia has 183 total positions statewide and currently, there are 53 open positions.  The district that includes Lake Gaston has just 3 officers currently assigned.

NCWRC – Richard Creech and Jessica Fariss

In 2020 there were 7-8 boating accidents on Lake Gaston

In 2021 there have already been 6 accidents in Warren County, including:

A boat ran aground in Six-Pound Creek while pulling a tube (alcohol was involved)
A 9-year-old girl cut her foot on a propeller.  Fortunately, the motor was not running.
Two pontoon boat accidents of "bow riding".  One where a boy sitting on the front bow of a pontoon boat while moving fell off and was run over.  Bow Riding is illegal.
A boat fire.
A man suffering a heart condition while boating.
Two jet skis crashed west of Eatons Ferry Bridge.
Plus, several drunken boaters cited over the Memorial Day weekend = OWI, operating while intoxicated.

Yes, over this July 4th weekend they expect from 3-10 boating incidents, most involving OWI.

The buoys that homeowners place in front of their boathouses to keep boats away are illegal.  Conservation officers may ask you to remove them.  If you don't you can/will be cited.  Alternatively, it was recommended to anchor your boat out in front of your boathouse for the day.  This would keep passing boats further away than the buoys would.  Remember, though, to remove the boat just before dark.

North Carolina has exempted the requirement for paddleboards to have PFDs.
There is a 100-foot no-wake law for jet skis in North Carolina.  There is no wake restriction for powerboats, but officers will cite offenders for unsafe operation of a vessel if indicated.

After dark the only lights required on the vessel are the boat red/green running light and the single white light mid-boat or stern.  Other lights such as pontoon boat docking lights and blue party lights cannot be on while the vessel is moving.  If the vessel is anchored these other lights can be used.

NC and VA conservation respond as quickly as possible to 911 emergency calls.  The local officers can also be contacted by phone.

NC – Richard Creech: 252-886-3614: email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
VA – Matt Sandy: 434-262-3428; email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

To report violations in VA: 1-800-237-5712
To report violations in NC: 1-800-662-7137

Business Meeting

The May 27th meeting minutes and the monthly treasurer's report, with no noted corrections, were approved.

The John 3:16 Center is hosting some summer camps for kids on the following dates: June 14, June 21, July 14, July 21, and August 14.  Our LGWSC Safety Trailer is at this venue and Council members are providing water safety training to the kids.  Debbie Andrews reported that this is going very well.

Everybody, please access our website for current information. www.lakegastonwatersafetycouncil.com

The next general membership meeting will be on July 28, 2021 (Wednesday) at 6:00PM at the Kennon House Restaurant.  The guest speaker will be Leanne Patrick, President/CEO of the LKG Chamber of Commerce, who will talk about new developments to improve the quality of life at the lake.

50:50 drawing.   Wyatt Andrews won the drawing and took home $20.00


Meeting was adjourned at approximately 8:10PM

Respectively Submitted

Jim Nold, Secretary

Preserve Your Life: Wear a Life Jacket

From NC Wildlife, 29 boaters lost their life on NC waters in 2020.   18 were not wearing a life vest (including one at LKG).

The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission introduced the “Preserve Your Life” campaign in 2017 to raise awareness and educate the public about the importance of life jackets. Wearing a life jacket is a simple safety precaution that can prevent tragedy from happening in the event of an accident. There's no reason to not wear a life jacket. In the end, your life may literally depend on it.

Life jackets have seen drastic design improvements over the years. Newer models are not the bulky, hot floatation devices that some boaters remember. In fact, many life jackets are designed for specific activities such as fishing, water sports and even hunting. These specialized floatation devices grant the user the freedom to enjoy their day on the water in comfort.

It’s important to put on your life jacket before heading out on the water. Even the strongest of swimmers can be incapacitated during an accident. In dire situations, there often isn’t time to grab a life vest and put it on properly. It can it save your life and can help you assist others who may be in danger.

Both North Carolina and federal regulations state that a personal floatation device in serviceable condition and of appropriate size should be accessible for each person onboard a vessel. North Carolina requires anyone younger than 13 to wear an appropriate life vest when on a recreational vessel. Anyone riding a personal watercraft or being towed by one must also wear a Coast Guard-approved life vest.    

The boat went over the guardrail10 feet up and landed in the far lane

Sunday morning just past midnight a couple jumped the causeway in a rental boat at Lizard Creek.   The boat went over the guardrail10 feet up and landed in the far lane.   They were not from here.  There were no injuries but the boat didn’t do so well.  

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


Meeting was adjourned at approximately 8:10PM

Respectively Submitted

Jim Nold, Secretary

Become a Member of the Lake Gaston Water Safety Council

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