LAKE GASTON WATER SAFETY COUNCIL
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.
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.
To report violations in VA: 1-800-237-5712
To report violations in NC: 1-800-662-7137
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
Jim Nold, Secretary