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Lake Safety

The Lake St. Catherine Association is very concerned with the safety of all the people that use our lake. We try to make all people aware of the rules from the State of Vermont.

Listed below, you will find information on rules and regulations, how to contact our Game Warden to make a report, a map of the lake buoy and marker locations, and details on the LSCA's free boating safety classes.

VERMONT LAW: DANGEROUS OPERATING PRACTICES

Vermont law states that these dangerous operating practices are illegal:

Careless and Reckless Operation of a vessel or the reckless manipulation of water skis, a surfboard, or a similar device is operating in a manner that causes danger to the life, limb, or property of any person. Examples of illegal, reckless operation are:

  • Boating in restricted areas without regard for other boaters or persons, posted speeds and wake restrictions, diver-down flags, etc.
  • Boating while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Failing to follow the navigation rules
  • Weaving through congested waterway traffic
  • Swerving at the last possible moment in order to avoid collision
  • Causing danger or damage from the wake of your vessel
  • Chasing, harassing, or disturbing wildlife with your vessel

Overloading is loading the vessel beyond a safe carrying capacity, taking into consideration the weather and other operating conditions.

Improper Speed or Distance is not maintaining a proper speed or distance while operating a vessel or while towing a person on water skis or any similar device. Specifically, the following actions are illegal:

  • Operating a vessel (except sailboards) at greater than “no wake speed” within 200 feet of:

- The shoreline
- A person in the water
- A canoe, rowboat, or other vessel
- An anchored or moored vessel with a person on board
- An anchorage or dock

  • Operating a vessel at speeds of five miles per hour or greater within 200 feet of a marked swimming area
  • Operating a vessel at speeds that may cause danger, injury, or damage. Be aware of and obey all regulatory markers, including areas marked as “no wake”

Note: “No Wake Speed” means operating your vessel at a speed at which the vessel does not produce a wake, not to exceed five miles per hour.

Many more rules and regulations for boating in Vermont can be found here, in the Vermont Boating Laws And Responsibilities Handbook.

LAKE ST. CATHERINE SPECIFIC BOATING RULES

Under Vermont Statute 10 V.S.A. ยง 1424, (effective November 17, 1980, amended January 1, 1995)

Water-skiing is prohibited in the following waters:

  • All portions of Lily Pond and the channel connecting Lily Pond and Lake St. Catherine
  • All portions of the channel connecting Little Lake and Lake St. Catherine

The operation of vessels powered by motor at speeds exceeding five miles per hour or in such a manner as to cause a disturbing wake is prohibited in the following waters:

  • All portions of Lily Pond and the channel connecting Lily Pond and Lake St. Catherine
  • All portions of the channel connecting Little Lake and Lake St. Catherine
  • Forest House Bay - defined for purposes of this rule as those waters south and southwest of a straight line between the southerly corner of Camp 102 and the northeasterly corner of Camp 110A
  • Hall’s Bay - defined for purposes of this rule as those waters north and northeast of a straight line between the southerly corner of Camp 224 and the northerly corner of Camp 207
  • Horseshoe Bay - defined for purposes of this rule as those waters west of a straight line between the easterly corner of Camp 38 and northerly corner of Camp 46A
  • Oxbow Bay - defined for purposes of this rule as those waters west of a straight line between the northerly corner of Camp 21 and the northerly corner of Camp 36

With regard to Forest House Bay, Hall’s Bay, Horseshoe Bay, and Oxbow Bay:

  • It is permissible for a boat to start and return to its own dock at speeds in excess of five miles per hour for purposes of water-skiing. In starting, the boat must head directly out of the safety zone. In returning, the boat must go directly to its dock at the lowest speed necessary to sustain the skier

For purposes of this regulation only:

  • The term “channel” as used in the rules above shall mean those waters within and contiguous to Lake St. Catherine which are less than 400 feet in width and which serve to connect that lake with Lily Pond or Little Lake.
  • The use of personal watercraft at speeds not exceeding five miles per hour is allowed on Little Lake and Lily Pond for purposes of obtaining access to, and returning from, Lake St. Catherine.

CONTACTING OUR GAME WARDEN

Our Warden is Justin Turner who resides in Arlington. His coverage area includes 9 towns: Arlington, Sunderland, Sandgate, Manchester, Rupert, Dorset, Pawlet, Danby and Wells. Although his area does not include Poultney, he is responsible for all of Lake St. Catherine.

While Justin patrols Lake St. Catherine, he looks for things like fishing violations (while checking for licenses), unsafe boating (including checking for life jackets, boating while intoxicated) and littering. While it's not possible for Justin to be on the lake every day, we can assist him in keeping Lake St. Catherine for everyone.

Justin has outlined a few tips that are helpful if you witness a violation or an unsafe situation. The more detailed information you can provide, the better his investigation can be. If possible, try to:

  • Take a video
  • Take photos
  • Take note of their registration number
  • Take note of a description of the vessel and the individual
  • Take note of the camp they return to
  • Take note of the date & time and location

Then, call Justin to report it so he can investigate - he can be reached on his cell at: 802-595-8754.

We can all be his eyes and ears around the lake helping to keep it safe.

Let's all be considerate of others while sharing the lake, and let's all work together to keep everyone on Lake St. Catherine safe.

BUOYS & MARKERS

We place buoys to show where the wake of the boat may cause damage to the shore, boats and/or swimmers. The areas are designated by the State of Vermont:
  1. Lily Pond to North Bay
  2. Stonehenge shoreline
  3. North Bay to the Big Lake
  4. Oxbow Bay
  5. Oxbow Bay
  6. Horseshoe Bay
  7. Horseshoe Bay
  8. Forest House Bay
  9. Forest House Bay
  10. Halls Bay
  11. Into The Channel
  12. The Channel before the bridge
  13. The Channel
  14. The Channel
  15. Into The Little Lake
  16. The Little Lake to Lake's End
  17. The shore within 200 feet out all along the entire lake

In addition to these "No Wake" buoys we also place traffic cones on areas where an underwater obstruction may damage props or hulls in shallow water. For example, The "Rock" buoy in the South West Central area, is there to warn off boaters.

A special thank you to all of the volunteers who give their time in placing the buoys and markers to assure safe boating for all.

BOATING SAFETY CLASSES

The LSCA teaching a boating safety class.Each season, the LSCA offers two FREE safe boating courses to help boaters satisfy the requirements by the state of Vermont. All boaters born after January 1st, 1974, must be certified to operate a power boat in Vermont waters. The certificate is good in all 50 states as it is under the auspices of the United States Coast Guard.

There will be two classes of two evenings each, near Independence Day. One will be in Poultney at the Volunteer Fire Department building, the other at the Wells Village School building. When dates are finalized, they will be posted on our Blog, our Facebook page, and our Calendar, as well as signs placed around both towns.

In 2020, we were unable to provide these classes due to COVID-19, and we are unsure if we will be able to resume the classes in 2021. If you would like to complete the course online, you can visit Boat-Ed to take the Vermont class for $29.50.

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Lake St. Catherine Association
PO Box 631
Wells, VT 05774

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