Take the boating regulation quiz: Authorities expect heavy watercraft traffic throughout the weekend | SummitDaily.com

Take the boating regulation quiz: Authorities expect heavy watercraft traffic throughout the weekend


SUMMIT COUNTY – Summit County’s two largest bodies of water draw thousands of visitors to the mountains in the summer – and keep them coming back. But many visitors – and even some area residents – might not realize there are a few differences between rules that govern activity on Dillon Reservoir and those covering Green Mountain Reservoir.

Local authorities expect plenty of traffic on the water this weekend. Boaters might want to take the following quiz to make sure the weekend is certain to be a fun one.

1. A no-wake zone when passing swimming areas, moored crafts or a person fishing on shore is enforced up to a distance of …

“One hundred-fifty feet,” said Technician Joel Cochran, the Summit County Sheriff’s Office supervisor of special operations. The sheriff’s office patrols Dillon Reservoir four days a week, and wake issues are a constant source of conflict among users. Cochran spent Wednesday morning putting buoy out in front of homes along the western shore of Green Mountain Reservoir.

“No, that’s not a slalom course,” Cochran said. “Hopefully, people observe the no-wake rules.”

2. True or False? You can’t drive cars along the shore, but you can take an ATV for a lakeside drive …

False. If it’s got wheels and a motor, it has to stay on official roads. Cochran said deputies issued several tickets last year to motorists taking a spin around the lake.

3. True or False? Swimming is not permitted in Dillon Reservoir until the air temperature reaches 85 degrees …

We all wish. False. The regulations covering the reservoir – which is a drinking water reservoir – are formulated by the Dillon Reservoir Recreation Committee’s board, and they do include a prohibition on swimming. Windsurfing is (sort of) an exception; windsurfers are required to wear wet suits, as are passengers on catamaran-type sailboats.

“Personal watercraft, swimming, waterskiing – activities with contact to the water – those are allowed at Green Mountain,” Cochran said.

4. Correct or incorrect? Above-transom exhaust boats are not permitted on the lake …

Correct. The jet-type exhausting engines are recommended to be used for open-ocean smuggling. Just kidding. This prohibition is one of the few differences between state boating codes and reservoir codes.

5. Correct or incorrect? The maximum speed allowed on Dillon Reservoir is faster than Green Mountain Reservoir …

Just the opposite. The state statute speed limit is 40 mph. On Dillon Reservoir, it’s 30 mph.

“And, yes, we have a battery-powered radar gun on board the sheriff’s office boat,” Cochran said.

Cochran said the policies developed to regulate boats on Dillon Reservoir aren’t intended to be prohibitive as much as they’re meant to “preserve the mountain character” of the reservoir. First offense violations for most of the policies do carry a $50 fine, and some (such as hunting or building fires) carry a $100 fine.

Dillon Marina manager Bob Evans said most boaters observe the codes and there aren’t many problems. When boaters take to the water to watch fireworks tonight, however, some are bound to leave common sense at the docks. Evans had the following reminders:

– Before you leave shore, make sure there are life preservers for all passengers, including small ones for children. Double-check flares and other safety equipment.

– The craft to the right has the right of way. Boats without running lights out after dark are in danger.

– Make sure the gas tank is full and batteries are charged.

“A lot of the problems people run into are easily avoidable,” Evans said. “I’ve been up here 20 years, and it never ceases to amaze me. And, oh, don’t go out with 18 cases of beer and expect five people to drink it.”

Boating under the influence, by the way, is against the law.

Reid Williams can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 237, or rwilliams@summitdaily.com.

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