LETTER: Keep your boats moored

From reader Tom Thurston

Storms with strong winds and cold temperatures have been frequent this winter and have taken their toll on local boats. Many boats (power and sail) have broken free from moorings, washed up on shore or are currently sitting on the bottom of the lake.

A boat’s bow rises and falls at its mooring thousands of times in a day. Every time a boat bobs up and down on a wave, it creates stress and wear on the lines, chain links, and shackles that make up a boat’s mooring. Sometimes that bobbing is gentle when winds are light, and sometimes that bobbing turns to violent pitching in the waves during storms. Couple that with the added weight of ice that builds up during the cold, winter storms and there is significant wear and force exerted on all components of a mooring.

These storms are unpredictable and challenging, but it is important to check the condition of the mooring both above and below water each season and replace all worn components before they fail. The sight of boats sunken and washed up on our shores is one that appeals to neither locals nor visitors, not to mention the environmental issues.

In the unfortunate event that your boat does get washed up on a shore or ends up sitting on the bottom, it is important to note that owners are responsible for their property. There are also local, provincial and federal laws outlining your responsibilities regarding the environmental and navigational issues this creates e.g. Navigation Protection Act, Waste Management Act, Environmental Management Act and the soon-to-be-enacted Wrecked, Abandoned or Hazardous Vessels Act.

The Kootenay Lake Sailing Association is dedicated to promoting sailing and boat safety on Kootenay Lake. We pride ourselves in keeping an eye out in case any members’ boats are in peril, and in protecting the beautiful waters that we are privileged to enjoy. Please do your part.

Tim Thurston

Kootenay Lake Sailing Association

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