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Be aware of new boating regulations

Several weeks ago, I was still skate skiing on our frozen lakes. Now, most of the ice is gone, and it is almost time to launch the stand-up paddle board.

I am not the only person keeping close tabs on lake conditions. Many property owners are longing to get out on the lakes after a long winter of dreaming about big fish and warm sunny spring days on the water. Please remember, PLPOA requires an annual boat registration for all boats before being floated on the lakes. There is a $10 fee for the first boat, a $5 fee for each additional boat and the decal is valid for the entire season.

Larry Lynch, manager of the PLPOA’s Department of Property and Environment Management, wants to make sure all boat owners are aware of the new boating regulations that were implemented in 2010 regarding boat inspections and protecting our lakes from the very real threat of zebra and quagga mussels. These are the exotic and invasive species of mussels that have been spreading at an alarming rate throughout lakes in the country. The PLPOA Board of Directors has been very concerned about this threat and has taken important steps to protect our lakes. In 2010, mandatory boat inspections were required in Pagosa Lakes for all boats that are transported on trailers. The primary purpose of the inspection was to determine whether the boat was a low-risk boat or a high-risk boat as defined by the Colorado Division of Wildlife. Low-risk boats are small, open design type boats, with no bilge pumps, no ballasts and no permanent sub-floors. High-risk boats that have these features are no longer allowed on the PLPOA lakes in order to prevent the possible introduction of invasive aquatic organisms.

If your trailered boat was inspected last year and you were approved for a Pagosa Lakes boating registration decal, you will not need to have your boat physically re-inspected this year as long as you own the same approved low-risk trailered boat. You can simply come by the association offices in Vista and purchase your trailered boat registration decal in person, without the boat. Of course, this only applies as long as you own the same boat that you owned last year. If you buy a new trailered boat or if your trailered boat was not inspected last year, you will need to bring the boat in physically for an inspection and low-risk certification.

Canoes, kayaks and other small “hand launched” watercraft need never be inspected; these automatically qualify as low-risk boats and all you need is the annual registration and decal for these types of boats. These are boats that are not transported on trailers and may be transported in the back of a pickup truck or strapped on the roof of your car.

Regardless of whether your boat is inspected or not this year, always keep three things in mind, keep your boat “Cleaned, Drained and Dry” when out of the water. This is the most important thing boat owners can do to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive organisms. Any time you are moving your boat from one water body to another; you have the potential of moving microscopic organisms that are visibly undetectable into a new lake which can be devastating. “Cleaned, Drained and Dry” will prevent that from happening.

If you have any questions about these boating regulations please feel free to call the office, 731-5635.

PLPOA Board of Directors

Tom Cruse and Gregg Mayo were recently appointed to fill vacancies on the PLPOA board. Tom Cruse is no stranger to the association, having previously served as a board member and president of the board. I wish to thank Crista Munro and Paul Boyd for their service to the association as board members. They both served in the best interest of the Pagosa Lakes community.

I also wish Gloria Petsch, the previous general manager, a fond farewell and all the best in her next job. Meanwhile, the board of directors is conducting preliminary interviews for her replacement.

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