For the Buoys

This year’s annual LMYP Polar Plunge will benefit the LMRA Lighted Up Lake Martin program, which purchases and install lighted buoys in hazard areas on the lake. Photo by Kenneth Boone

Lake Martin Young Professionals host 2019 polar plunge for LMRA

Tickets are on sale now for the 4th Annual Lake Martin Young Professionals Polar Plunge, set for noon on Saturday, Jan. 19, at Kowaliga Restaurant. Presented by Valley Bank as a benefit for Lake Martin Resource Association, this annual event posts a plus for Lake Martin, whatever the temperature outside.

Kowaliga will open the cash bars inside at 10 a.m. before the annual dip into Lake Martin’s frigid waters. Following the plunge at 12 p.m., the fastest swimmer to the marker and back will win $100 in the Dash for the Cash; and then, the party really gets started with live music, food and fun from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. There will be warming fires on the lawn, as well as a costume contest, and tickets for the entire day’s entertainment – for plungers as well as spectators – are only $20.

And it’s all for a good cause. The annual plunge helps to fund the Lake Martin Resource Association’s lighted buoy program. Launched just over two years ago, the LMRA buoy goal is to convert about half of the 440 hazard markers on Lake Martin to lighted buoys at a cost of about $450 for each one. As nighttime boating on Lake Martin increases with each season, LMRA President John Thompson said, safety concerns also have grown. The lighted buoys are easier to see from a longer distance, and their presence could save lives, motors and expensive hull repairs.

The annual plunge into the cold lake has raised $11,418 for LMRA since the program began. In addition to Valley Bank, sponsors include Russell Lands On Lake Martin, Dark Insurance Agency, Lake Martin Dock Company, Central Alabama Community College, Russell Medical, Steve Robinson (Tallapoosa County commissioner), David Willis – Raymond James Financial Services, Ballard Construction, Zajac’s Auto Collision, Tallapoosa Publishers, Inc., and Lake Martin Realty.

While it’s too early to tell what the weather will be like for this year’s event, temperatures have been all over the map in previous years. The first plunge in 2016 was a cold one with 40-degree temperatures and 20-mile-per-hour winds capping out the day at an 18-degree wind chill. In 2017, the situation couldn’t have been more in contrast, as plungers cooled off in the lake under sunny skies and temperatures in the 70s. Last year, the combination of 38 degrees and 15-mile-an-hour winds sent plungers into the water at a 20-degree wind chill.

The money tends to follow the temperatures for this event, as LMRA cashed a $3,325 check in 2016; a $5,042 check for 2017’s balmy plunge; and back down to $3,050 last year. If previous years indicate a pattern, this year could finance a record number of lighted buoys on Lake Martin.

To learn more about LMRA, visit Visit for Polar Plunge details.