Five Island Lake awaits boats, skiers, swimmers and summer lake enthusiasts. Before all of this lake activity gets into full swing, here are a few reminders about water safety so everyone has fun and stays protected.
Young people between the ages of 12 and 17 are required to pass a boater safety course and carry a boater education card before operating a motorized vessel that runs over 10 mph. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources offers an approved online boater safety course that can be accessed at www-ed.com/iowa. The lifetime card is worth it.
Browsing the course topics would also be helpful for anyone wanting to know more about the safety of canoes, kayaks, paddle boats and boards. There are instructions for entering and exiting the craft on the water and how to balance and stabilize a paddle vessel efficiently.
Reiterating what all boaters know but might need a small reminder centers around basic responsibility. The operator always needs to take all necessary steps to avoid any collision whether with another craft, a dock or other object. It is important to keep vigilant by listening for other boats and watching what is going on in the vicinity of travel. Maintaining a safe speed is always critical.
Swimmers need to be cautious beginning with staying out of the water if there is any thunder or lightning. If swimming in a lake or river enter the shallow part carefully until you are confident about how the depth changes and what the bottom of the lake is like. Is it rocky or is it littered with debris? It is important to swim a distance from a diving board. Having a friend in the water with you is a safety precaution. Avoid swimming in river currents.
Whether swimming, riding in a boat or paddling a canoe, it is important to wear a personal flotation device (life jacket) or know where they are located if needed in an emergency. If a person can’t swim it is paramount that they always wear the jacket.
Everyone can see that Five Island Lake is low. You only need to drive along the east shore of the south bay and view the long legs of the docks to know that the water level is way down. Little snow melts this spring and promised rains that never materialize are frustrating for those wanting to be on the lake. This is posing a hazard for boats, wave runners and even paddle vessels. Who wants to risk scraping a boulder or having to purchase a new motor? Within the next couple of weeks there will be orange buoys put into place on the lake to alert where risks loom. The water level is such at the north dock that boats may not even be able to get into the water. Dredging the trestle underpass is scheduled and needed along with rain.
Iowa’s rainiest months are May and June. There is still time for May and all of June to produce much needed moisture. And no matter how you enjoy the lake, keep in mind water safety.
Previous question’s answer: The Civilian Conservation Corps made up of young adult males did landscaping, riprapped various shorelines and even built the first bath house at the south bay.
Question: What monitoring data is used to determine a lake’s health?
submitted by Diane Weiland