No Wake Buoy

Be courteous on the lake, observing navigation rules and No Wake signs and buoys and avoiding hazards.

Oh, the joys of lake living. I’ve enjoyed living on and loving Lake Martin for years. This article could be about the rhapsody of summer sunsets, the shimmering shifts of water color or the always-changing landscapes from rocky shears to shallow sands. 

But it’s not. 

It’s about the other side: the well-meaning but uninformed newcomer to the lake; the careless boater; and the flat-out rude. Part of Lake Martin Resource Association’s mission is to respond to the comments from those who enjoy the lake. Sometimes, we hear about what people don’t enjoy; yet, we listen to all.

As the phrase goes, I get an earful (or three) of lake issues. Here are some of the most pressing ones, along with a few suggestions that could be helpful: 


Trash, Garbage, Lake Litter

Litter is everyone’s problem, and you can be part of the solution. Please report heavily littered shorelines to if you are unable to remove it from the beautiful place where you found it. Boat ramp trash is especially sickening since it’s done by people who enjoy the lake but trash it for others. 

Recently, LMRA volunteers at the Kowaliga boat ramp picked up four bags of trash that was left there by boaters who didn’t feel like disposing of it properly. Frustrating as it is, volunteers willing to pick it up is the only answer at this time. 


Hazard Buoys: Needed and Missing

LMRA installs and replaces buoys each year to help you avoid hazards. (Note: The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency marine police do an incredible job on this lake, but replacing buoys is nottheir responsibility. LMRA buys and installs these as affordability allows, based on membership funds.)

If you see a hazardous area where a buoy is missing or you encounter a buoy that is floating after becoming dislodged, please report it at with directions as to the location. As a safety precaution, if possible, please remove the free-floating buoy and report to LMRA. Remember, we are an all-volunteer organization totally funded by our membership.

The point is: Unless you want to get hurt, ruin your boat or be towed home, avoid buoys. They are there for a reason – to protect you and your property. 


Floating Debris, Furniture and Watercraft

Lots of debris from an owner or maintenance company is not allowed. Violations should be reported to Alabama Power Company Shoreline Management at 256-825-1186.

Dock parts and furniture are regularly blown into the lake, so take the time to properly tether your furniture to something stable. Do this before a surprise 40-mile per hour wind gust deposits it in the middle of Kowaliga Bay for someone to run over. 

It’s also a good idea to mark your stand-up paddleboards, kayaks and paddles with your identification and lake address. 

A lakeside address sign is critical for neighbors, guests or emergency crew to find you. You can make your own or purchase a reflective, metal, official lakeside address sign from LMRA.

Boats go missing, too! An LMRA member recently called to report a sunken boat bumping against his dock. It happens more often than you might think. Secure PWCs and boats to avoid it happening to you.


Unwelcome Wakes and Discourteous Boating

I love watersports, but when your fun becomes someone else’s misery, expect an issue. No one wants huge waves caused by a wakeboarder or a careless boater crashing against a floating dock. Aside from maddening, it can be extremely dangerous and could cause property damage.

Wake boarders should avoid swim areas. It’s hard to stay on a raft if you’re suddenly hit by 3-foot swells.

Lakeside erosion eats at property owners’ land values. Seawalls were built for full pool, not 3-foot waves.

Property owners are allowed to place swim buoys within 25 feet of their piers as per the marine police guidelines. Please observe and respect them.

Please be a model of loving Lake Martin this season. And if you’re a guest, we welcome you and hope you’ll act in a way that we want to see you back. 

For all, have a wonderful, blessed summer in this Treasured environment. 


John Thompson is president of Lake Martin Resource Association. This all-volunteer agency exists to support beauty, safety and protection of Lake Martin. You can become a caring member. Join at