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Every year Lake Gaston has multiple boating accidents

Every year Lake Gaston has multiple boating accidents, some resulting in serious injury or death. Even just one accident is too many. If we could cure stupidity most of these would not occur. Jet skis are fun, fast and dangerous. We have one. North Carolina, as you know, does have a "no wake" law for jet skis = No wake within 100 feet of a boathouse, dock, or swimmer in the water. The distance between my boathouse and the boathouse across from me is about 170 feet. That means, by law, our cove is a no jet ski wake area from my boathouse to the end of the cove. Over the years I've probably seen more adults ignore this law than kids.

Now, will NC Wildlife be back in our cove enforcing this? Probably not, as they're spread too thin unless somebody files a complaint to them. The Virginia no-wake law is 50 feet for both jet skis and all powerboats.

Wake boats are a growing concern all over the country. So far North Carolina has refrained from putting any restrictions on wake boats. In Virginia, there is a 150-foot restriction in the legislature, but it has been "tabled" for a year. Pennsylvania and Maryland already have imposed 200 feet restriction on wake boats. Eventually, NC will do something. There's a lot of growing sentiment against discourteous wake boat operators. Be thoughtful out there.

The Lake Gaston Water Safety Council is a worthy organization to support. Family memberships are only $10/year. Check out their website: www.lakegastonwatersafetycouncil.org The local U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, Flotilla 93, will come out and give a free safety inspection for your watercraft. They also conduct boating education classes. Their website is: http://wow.uscgaux.info/content.php?unit=054-09-03

The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission also conducts on-line or instructor-lead boating safety classes. Their website is www.ncwildlife.org. You learn more with instructor-led courses. Have a safe and fun boating season.

  • Updated the web site throughout the year with time-sensitive information for boaters.
  • LGWSC volunteers attended the Water Safety Information trailer at 7 events around the lake. Questions were answered about water safety for an estimated 300 folks. Of this number, 250 were middle school students in support of the LGA sponsored Lakeside Learning Days.
  • In 2017 we did a total redesign of the WSC web site to make it mobile-friendly. In addition, we joined Facebook. In 2017 we had over 3,800 visitors to the web site from as far as away as California and Florida. In 2018 we almost doubled those clicks (6,100) who took the time to review the WSC mission and activities.
  • Promoted awareness of the Children's Life Jacket Loaner Program at nine (9) locations around the Lake to ensure visitors had proper safety equipment available.
  • Made a donation to purchase 3 life vests for the Dive and Rescue team with the Roanoke Wildwood Volunteer Fire Department.
  • Authored 6 water safety-related articles for inclusion in the LGA semi-monthly Bulletin.
  • Made three presentations to various groups and HOA's around the lake.
  • Convened 9 monthly membership meetings (including the annual pick-N) featuring speakers and subjects about water safety.
  • Added reflective decals with the LGWSC logo for distribution at meetings and events.
  • Identified focal points for reporting missing, off station and malfunctioning danger and navigation buoys:
    • Mile Markers - (252) 535-6161 Ext. 4
    • Danger and Navigation Buoys - (919) 707-0150 (NC) / (434) 848-3107 (VA - Brunswick County) / (434) 738-6191 (VA - Mecklenburg County)
  • Made available signs for personal watercraft responsibility awareness and to promote use of life vests.
  • Provided contact numbers to report unsafe boating incidents in the form of laminated cards and signs.

Data taken 15 June 2015.  Water level 200 feet.

Clearances on Bridges and Tunnels on Lake Gaston This information is provided by USCG Auxiliary Flotilla 93 and is at best available information. However, skippers are responsible for their own boat’s safety before entering a causeway tunnel/bridge.

Bridge Height of Bridge Water Depth
Song Bird Creek 6’ 6” 5’
Eaton Ferry Bridge 9’11” 34.5’
Lizard Creek River Road 6’3” 4’
Pea Hill Creek River Road 8’7” 15.5’
Pea Hill Creek Rt 626 9’ 12.2’
Pea Hill Creek Rt 667 5’4” 9.5’
Popular Creek Rt 903 9’4” 16’
Norcarva Rt 1334 6’5” 5.5’
Holly Grove Rt 903 8’11” 8’
Lake Gaston Water Safety Council - How we came to be

The Lake Gaston Water Safety Council was formed on February 22, 1989. We are thankful for Joe Peterson, formerly with what is now known as Dominion Energy, for envisioning the need back in 1988 to organize a group of interested persons who lived on the lake to solely focus on safety on the water. Much has happened over the last 20 plus years.

As the years passed and more people started to use the lake, boating and boating-related accidents became more frequent. Boating safety and training were the initial offerings of the WSC. In 1991, the US Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 93 was chartered.

Several near electrocutions relating to improperly installed boat lifts resulted in the WSC developing recommendations for proper grounding and the use of ground-fault receptacles. Through it all the WSC has evolved and enjoys excellent working relations with Dominion Energy, local officers of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission and the Virginia Game and Inland fisheries. In addition, we partner with key business and organizational stakeholders around the lake.

You will read elsewhere on our web site information about training presented by Flotilla 93, our life jacket loaner program, information about our Safety Trailer, why we now have hazard and navigational buoys (there are over 32) and the mile markers which cover the lake from the dam to 34 miles to the western edge. The need to think about safety never stops and we have much more to do.

Become a Member of the Lake Gaston Water Safety Council

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