Boating Rules and Regulations

All Bungay Lake boaters and watercraft must comply with the Boating rules and registration set forth by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Below is only a summary of some of the common boating laws; you are responsible to know and observe all local, state and federal laws. For a copy of the complete watercraft laws contact the Massachusetts Environmental Police at 617-727-8760.

All Boats (Including Personal Watercraft – PWC)
All residents are responsible for informing any guest of all the lake rules and regulations.
Lake Speed limit – Maximum speed for inland waterways is 45 MPH.
No watercraft shall operate above 6 MPH behind the big island, in posted areas and in areas that minimum distances from shoreline cannot be maintained.
Operation in a counterclockwise direction only.
Sail boats, canoes, kayaks, and any watercraft without a motor has the right of way.
Maximum speed – Before 8:00am and after dusk is 6 MPH, proper lighting required. Operating a motor boat without proper working lights and water-skiing/jet-skiing is also prohibited before or after these times.
Minimum Age – No person under 12 years of age may operate a motorboat, unless accompanied on-board and directly supervised by a competent person 18 years of age or older. Personal watercraft (PWC) must be at least 16 years of age in order to operate.
Safety Education Certification – Youth between 12 and 15 years of age must complete an approved basic boating course in order to operate any motorboat without adult supervision. PWC users who are 16 and 17 years of age must also complete the basic course and also an additional class on PWC operation.
The above certificate must be in possession of the certified operator while underway.

Water craft pulling Skiers, Kneeboarders, etc.
A competent observer must be on board at all times. A mirror is NOT a replacement for this requirement.
A clearance of 150 feet must be maintained from the following: Swimmers, Swimming areas, Water skier’s, Mooring area & Shoreline. A speed of 6 MPH or less within this distance.

Safety Equipment
Life preservers are to be worn by: (1) youth less than 12 years of age (2) personal watercraft user (3) water-skiers (4) canoeist/kayakers (Sept 15 to May 15).
A wearable PFD for each person must be on board any boat or craft being towed.
Motor boats towing skiers must also be equipped with a boarding ladder.

Personal Watercraft (323 CMR 4.00 Chapter 90B)
Always operate in a safe and prudent manner
The following are considered negligent operation:
Unreasonable jumping, or attempting to jump, the wake of another vessel;
Following within 150 feet of a water skier, tuber, knee boarder etc.;
Weaving through congested traffic;
Speeding in restricted areas;
Crossing unreasonably close to another vessel;
Towing a water skier or any person in any manner from a personal watercraft;
Operating a personal water craft during the evening.

S.A.F.E Program

S.A.F.E. stands for Safety Awareness From Education
– Program Established April 13, 1999 –

Program Mission:
S.A.F.E. is an educational program designed to ensure the personal safety of all that use and enjoy Bungay Lake.

Program Purpose:
To educate Bungay lake residents on water Safety issues and provide a process to monitor, track and escalate safety incidents.

The S.A.F.E. Program applies to all residents and non-residents that use the lake for recreational purposes.

Program Objectives:
Educate existing and new residents on Recreational Safety Issues through a variety of materials.
Provide a single point contact (Program Director) for residents to report safety incidents.
Provide a process to escalate multiple safety incidents through the proper channels.

Program Director:
A S.A.F.E. Program Director will be elected at the annual meeting to a yearly term. The Director will be responsible for all aspects of the program as described below.

Program Director Functions:
Periodically provide all Lake Residents with updated Bungay Lake Safety rules and regulations as well as Massachusetts Boating safety Laws. Update rules and regulations as necessary. Provide laminated copies for boat storage.
Provide all NEW lake residents/renters with above rules within 30 days of move-in date.
Work in conjunction with Environmental Police in regards to Boating Laws and violation process.
Provide All Lake Residents with the name and number of Program Director to allow reporting of safety incidents.
Create and manage “Safety Log” which is designed to track safety calls and incidents reported by residents. Log shall contain the following minimum information: Date reported, reported by, incident description, boat registration # (if known), name of accused & action taken (w/dates).
Safety log will also be used to track-reported thefts and other miscellaneous safety issues.
Report summaries of safety log periodically through newsletter and yearly at annual meeting.

To Report Safety Incidents:
Dale Tessier was elected at the annual meeting as the S.A.F.E. Program Directors for 2012/2013. Please call Dale at (508) 962-1573 to report any and all safety related incidents.

PWC Etiquette

Personal Watercraft are remarkable, agile machines; and I enjoy riding as much as anyone. It’s a freedom that can’t be appreciated until you take your first ride. I like to spin out, hop some waves and take my friend’s kids for rides now and then. However, I also make sure that the enjoyment of my chosen recreation doesn’t interfere with anyone else’s. Let’s face it – no matter what sport or recreation out there, there’s always someone who’s determined to wreck it for everyone else, but we aren’t going to change anything by preaching wild-riding abstinence. No one becomes a respected rider without a lot of practice and many mistakes. There is a time, a place and a safe way of improving your skills, though. If you adhere to the following guidelines, you can have your fun without annoying other boaters and upsetting the neighborhood.

Noise Offends

Imagine someone running a chainsaw on your front deck for minutes on end, and you’ll get a feel for what it’s like for waterfront homeowners when a PWC rider is constantly buzzing around in one small area. PWC’s are actually quieter than most power boats. But even the loudest power boats seldom annoy people because they’re never operated in small areas for extended periods of time. So keep on moving…you can still have your fun and keep the peace at the same time. When pulling away from a dock or launching in a congested area, cruise slowly, quietly and in a straight line away from shore. If you want to practice spins and tricks, taxi to an isolated area on a non-busy day where there won’t be any homeowners to bother or other boaters to look out for. Since many of today’s watercraft are so easy to ride, owners are often pressured into letting friends give them a try. If you must give in, start with the proper instruction onshore, followed by a tandem familiarization cruise. Make sure they understand the “rules of the road” before turning them loose on their own.

Comfort Zones

PWC etiquette means more than operating within your handling limitations. When navigating around other boaters, you must also consider what their interpretations of your actions might be. Given the uncanny maneuverability of most PWC’s, a good rider could easily rip high speed “S” turns in semi-congested areas without excessive risk or the least bit of fear. He’d certainly be scaring everyone else around him, though. Think about other people’s comfort zones. Water-skiers don’t like to hear a PWC ripping around them any more than you’d like to hear the roar of a Mack truck approaching fast when you’re on the back seat of a moped. Don’t ride behind water-skiers or cross in front of a boat’s bow and stay far enough away from all boats so that no one has to worry about what you’re going to do. If you can’t find a totally traffic-free area to cut loose on, you may want to give it a rest until the lake quiets down a bit.

Jumping Waves

Few watercraft stunts can match the wide-eyed thrills that wave jumping offers. The problem is, the high-spirited sensation of free-flying often lures PWC riders to jump boat wakes, which is illegal, dangerous, and utterly unnerving for the boat operator. It’s also a leading cause of PWC and boating accidents. Use common sense and stay as far away from all boat traffic as possible. As always, I recommend that all boat operators take a boating safety course sponsored by either the Power Squadron or US Coast Guard. There are no bad boats out there, just bad operators.

The bottom line is: you can ride aggressively as appropriate and your ability allows – just have the patience, common sense, courtesy and respect for your fellow lake residents, they’d like to enjoy the lake as much as you do.

All About Kayaking

Over the past couple years, kayaking has become one of the fasted growing sports in the Country. This popularity has blossomed onto Bungay Lake with several residents becoming addicted to viewing the lake from a different perspective. As with any sport, you could spend a lifetime trying to learn all there is to know about it. The intent of this article is to introduce you to the basics and point you to where you can find out more.

If you ever go shopping for a kayak, the first thing you’ll notice is that there are more choices than you could possibly imagine. It’s going to boil down to this: buy the kayak that will work best for the kind of water you’ll be paddling most of the time. For all other trips, it’s beg, borrow or rent. Ask yourself: where do I really want to go, and what do I really want to do?

Kayaks Vs. Canoes: Different Boats, Same Water

Besides the paddling position and the double-bladed paddle, how is a kayak different from an open canoe? Well, water is still water. And the principles of hull design are essentially the same for kayaks and canoes. Length contributes speed and ease of tracking. Rocker, the banana-like upward curve of the keel line, adds maneuverability. And stability is, in part, dependent of width. Kayaks can be smaller than canoes partly because they are covered or decked. The deck sheds the waves and spray that that would fill an open craft that was as low to the water surface. The sitting position also means a lower center of gravity, and that means kayaks can be narrow without feeling tippy. The biggest distinction is probably this: in most canoes you are traveling on the water, whereas in kayaks you are sitting right down in it.

So, these days, what actually defines a kayak? Basically, it’s a craft that’s propelled from a sitting – not kneeling – position, with a double-bladed paddle.

The Big Division: Touring Or Whitewater?

Earlier generations got by on folding kayaks that did a bit of whitewater and a bit of touring, but by the 1960’s, kayakers had become more specialized, and so had kayaks. There were too many great challenges out there that require a boat with specific characteristics. Now there are whitewater kayaks, sea-touring kayaks, flatwater kayaks and sit-on-top kayaks. There are kayaks that fold, kayaks that inflate, kayaks that squirt, kayaks that surf. Rodeo kayaks and racing kayaks. Kayaks for one person. Kayaks for two people. And we haven’t even begun to talk about all the different materials they’re made of.

Whitewater Paddling

First and foremost, whitewater kayaks are designed to turn. They are maneuverable and relatively low volume. You wear them as much as sit in them, for they react to movements of your hips the way a snow skier’s ski edges carve turns. In such a small craft, subtle differences in design can affect handling in mighty ways. This would usually include the craft’s edges – the sharpness of angle where hull and deck meet – and volume – the amount of enclosed space in a boat.

Touring Kayaks

Sea kayaks, also called touring kayaks, are used for paddling on lakes and oceans when you would rather put your energy into getting somewhere than into spinning in circles. This means that most sea kayaks are longer than river kayaks – as long as 19 feet (some doubles are almost 23 feet) – and relatively narrow, just 21 to 24 inches. Sea kayaks have straight keel lines and sharply raked, upturned bows for slicing through waves and resisting lateral motion.

A Note About Seats And Cockpits

The seat and cockpit of a kayak are where you’ll actually spend your time. It’s worth taking a look at how these can affect your comfort and performance. Seat shape, back bands, hip braces, foot braces, and seat height vary from model to model. Sit in each boat and see how it feels. A seat that’s mounted too high will compromise the boat’s stability. Hip braces that are too tight can make your legs and feet go numb. Also, when you set a budget for your kayak purchase, don’t forget to account for the accessories you can’t do without. Good kayak paddles will cost upwards of $125, and you’ll also need a PFD, a spray skirt, and for whitewater, a helmet.

The Final Words: Try Before You Buy

These days, there are more kayak manufacturers, designs, and even colors to choose from than ever before. Look for the one that fits your most frequent style of paddling. Remember, renting a kayak on those occasions when you want something different is a better solution than buying a kayak that’s a compromise all the time. Toward this end, you can’t spend better money than in taking a weekend clinic (see below) with a reputable instruction company in the area of kayaking that interests you most, be that whitewater or touring. The skills you learn, and the different designs you will get to try, will set you on the right path to happy paddling.