It was standing room only Aug. 10 at the Lake Martin Resource Association Meet & Greet at Copper’s Grill. Alabama Credit Union sprang for breakfast for more than 100 guests, and LMRA President John Thompson updated the audience on safety issues, Renew Our Rivers cleanups and more.
Thompson kicked off the presentation by thanking the marine police for all they do around Lake Martin and introduced Lt. Mark Fuller. On behalf of the marine police, Fuller expressed appreciation for LMRA taking over the job of installing buoys.
“It’s a never-ending job, and there are well over 400 buoys out there,” said Fuller. “LMRA volunteers have already replaced 30 damaged buoys since May.”
Thompson added that this year alone 58 hazard buoys have been installed or replaced; 16 new lighted buoys have been installed; six lighted buoys have been replaced; and one of the 30 damaged buoys has already been replaced three times.
With 440 buoys total, LMRA’s goal is to install up to 200 lighted buoys around the lake. To date, LMRA has placed close to 90 lighted buoys.
Fuller also told the crowd that 27 people have died on waters in Alabama as of July 4 and that alcohol was a factor in almost all cases.
“I am tired of people dying on waterways. We need to step up our citations,” he said.
There are four patrol boats on Lake Martin, which means at any given time there are only two or three out on the water.
“It’s not enough, but it’s all we’ve got,” said Fuller. “The biggest issue out there is a lack of courtesy and respect for others. This is the age we live in; we may as well get used to it.”
Attendees asked about the placement of idle or No Wake buoys and requested more be added to the lake. Fuller explained that he could not fulfill every request, or there would be no need for motors on boats.
“The conditions to get an idle speed buoy are if the location is a public boat launch, a marina with fuel docks or an area with a lot of traffic that needs it for safety reasons,” Fuller said.
Residents raised concerns about boating too fast in sloughs; the lax rules on acquiring a boating license; the lack of boat driving skills seen in the summer; and what constitutes appropriate lighting.
“I enforce the laws, but I don’t create them. More people should contact legislators – the more that do, the more likely we will have change,” said Fuller.
Thompson wrapped up the presentation with all the programs and initiatives in which LMRA participates in addition to the buoy program.
“We’re about enhancing recreation aside from the water; protecting water levels; teaching Women in Boating courses led by LMRA volunteers; and environmental education. We’re not doing a good job educating our kids on how important it is to protect the environment,” he said.
The implementation of Renew our Rivers and the Treasured Mile Program have made great strides in cleaning up the Treasured Lake. Thompson said more than 100 tons of trash has been removed over the last 15 years.
“We don’t get as much participation in these programs from the Blue Creek area. That’s why we’re here. We need your help,” said Thompson.
LMRA also offers a property protection program that rewards witnesses that help to catch someone breaking into a home.
“We’re proud of what LMRA does. It’s been around for about 50 years, and we are extremely valuable to Lake Martin Residents,” Thompson said.
For more information about LMRA and its mission, visit lmra.info.