Star Lake Handbook

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Boating on Star Lake

BEFORE Launching a boat or any other water craft into the Lake:

If you (or your guests or renters) have had your boat on another body of water, please follow the procedures below to avoid contamination of the lake:  (adapted from the DEC 1994-95 Fishing Regulations Guide)

  • Remove pieces of aquatic vegetation and dispose of them on land well away from the water;

  • Wash the boat, motor, oars, and trailer with hot (over 120o F) water or steam at a car wash preferably shortly after taking the boat out of the water; definitely before launching in Star Lake!

  • Empty live wells and bilges on land, well away from the shore.  Flush them with 120o F water;

  • Don’t release unused bait into the water and don’t dump your bait bucket water into the lake.  Don’t release fish caught in other lakes or streams into Star Lake either.  Fish not native to Star Lake may be undesirable species that will negatively affect the ecosystem of the lake.  We’d add, don’t ever use baitfish from other than Star Lake or Little River.

New York Boaters' Guide

For a comprehensive and informative guide to New York boater safety regulations, click here.  It is in .pdf format, so you can save your own copy or print it for yourself.

Please Study the Star Lake Map

Among other things, the enclosed map identifies rock shoals, shallows, and sand bars to help new people and their guests avoid damaging their props, keels, or centerboards.  It also includes a 5 mph/100 foot from shoreline marking in critical areas around the lake to assist in keeping appropriate speeds, maintaining safety and minimizing erosion.  Specific areas of concern are mentioned on the next pages of the Handbook.  For more information, see Rules of the Lake.

Right of Way and Counter-Clockwise Direction of Travel

New York boating safety laws indicate that motorized boats, jet skis (personal water crafts) and rafts must yield right of way to sail boats and boats engaged in fishing.  Sailboats must stay out of the way of boats engaged in fishing.  All slower traffic should keep to the right, out of the main traffic channels.

Many years ago, the SLPA established some guidelines for safe motor boating and one of these was a suggestion to boat around the lake in a counter clock-wise direction.  While not carved in stone, this has been a tradition for a long time.  It is particularly important for fast boats, pwc’s and water skiers to observe this rule to avoid accidents and maintain a safe traffic flow.  Other slower vessels that choose to travel opposed to the general traffic should stay out of the main channels, particularly in “blind” areas where oncoming traffic might not be seen until it’s too late.  If all follow this convention, it should help to minimize confusion and avoid potential problems.  This is not a law; it’s a rule of tradition and common sense.

If you have guests or renters, please try to inform them of these general guidelines and, better still, make this handbook available to them.  If you have children boating on the lake, please make sure they are observing the rights of others and that they are aware of proper boating safety rules.  A NY Boaters’ Safety course is recommended for younger boaters and is required for boaters (12-17) and now applies to all pwc (personal water craft) operators, regardless of age.  In recent summers, the course has been offered on Star Lake for the convenience of its residents.  If you are interested in taking the course, please contact an Association officer early in the summer for dates and times offered.

Speed Regulations, Safety, Boat Wakes and Other Considerations

New York has boating laws which, when followed, strike a balance between safety, boating enjoyment, and infringement on the environment.  Let’s all be good neighbors and respect the rights of lake users by trying to follow some basic, common-sense rules.  The following are excerpts from The New York State Boater’s Guide.

 “…speed is limited to 5 mph when within 100 feet of shore, dock, pier, raft, or anchored boat.” Some counties have added swimmers to the list and this is probably a good idea.  Swimmers who are a considerable distance from shore (swimming across the bay or lake, for example) should make sure they are extra visible to boaters.

Look at your wake from time to time.  Five mph is a fast walking speed and the intent here is not only safety, but a minimizing of wake and the impact it has on shore lines and property.  “… you must operate your boat so it will not endanger others.  Your boat must be able to stop safely within the clear space ahead.  A skipper is responsible for damage caused by his wake… ”  Some heavier, larger boats leave a bigger wake at 5 mph than if they were going full-speed!  When going though the cut between second and third lake, around small islands or into narrow bays, it’s best to put the bow of the boat right down into the water and run at slow, idle speed; not half throttle with your “bow up” leaving a three-foot wake!  Please use good judgment and observe your wake from time to time, whatever the speed.  All boat owners should instruct those who use their boat about safety, wake damage and consideration for others.

For an idea of what 100 feet is, the mouth of Post Office Bay is a little more than 200 feet wide, so one half of this is just over 100 feet. The enclosed map marks the 100-foot limit in critical areas of the lake with a 5 mph symbol.  There are some specific problem areas on the lake regarding the 100-foot limit:

  • The first area of concern is the north end of Lulu Island.  The distance from the end of the island to the mainland is about 125 feet, so the speed limit there is 5 mph.  Water skiing around the island, while traditional, is technically illegal since it violates the 100-foot rule.  While skiers have traditionally skied around the islands, there is severe shore erosion on the islands.  Those little islands can’t afford to lose any more shoreline!  Entrances to most smaller bays and around islands fall within the 100-foot, 5-mph rule.

  • The second area is Sunset Bay where technically there appears to be “room;” however the sandbar poses a safety problem when water skiing into and out of the bay and avoiding the 100-foot limit on Scott’s Point.

  • The third area of concern is the Post Office Bay.  The mouth is just over 200 feet wide.  The bay then opens up for a short ways but closes to 205-215 feet for several hundred feet.  This means that there is only a 5-15 foot legal “channel” through that stretch.  If there is other traffic in the channel, then there is a problem with towing a water skier and still being 100 feet from shore.  We suggest when water skiing, that you take a quick look before entering or leaving the bay.  If there is traffic in the channel, then circle around or by-pass the bay until it’s clear.  Slower traffic should keep right, out of the main channel.  Swimmers should make sure they are clearly visible to boat traffic and should be very careful when crossing the channel.

  • Another area is “through the cut.”  People should not ski or speed through this area for several reasons.  First and most important, there are often people using their beach and dock in that area and safety is an issue.  Second, it is difficult to determine if there is traffic on the other side at the speed required to ski; and last, there is the obvious erosion problem.  This is clearly a 5 mph area.

 

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