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Mayor's Newsletter

Winter has finally released its grip on us.  The days are getting warmer, our beautiful trees are blooming, and best of all, the lake is full!  I’m sure you are all anxious to get your boats out of storage and back on the water.  The Borough Council members and I want this to be the best summer yet at Indian Lake.  Therefore, we are asking everyone to Boat Safely and Be Courteous to Others.  Please don’t let a lack of knowledge or moment of poor judgement ruin the summer for you, your family, or someone else here at Indian Lake.  Do your part to keep Indian Lake one of the safest lakes in Pennsylvania!
 

June is Safe Boating Month
 
To promote boating safety, I have proclaimed June as Safe Boating MonthClick here to see the proclamation.
 
If you have not seen it already, I urge you to click here to watch our Safe Boating Tips Video made specifically for Indian Lake.  It’s not just for powerboat operators.  It’s for everyone who enjoys any kind of water activity here at Indian Lake. Please share this video with your family and friends.
 
Safe Boating Activities in June
 
(1) The first weekend of June (3rd, 4th, and 5th) the Indian Lake Police will offer Voluntary Boat Safety Inspections in cooperation with the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.  Having your boat inspected is a great way to make sure that your boat is legal and all recommended safety equipment is onboard.  Don’t worry if your boat fails a voluntary inspection.  No citations will be issued!  The Police and Coast Guard Auxiliary will kindly tell you what’s wrong so you can fix the problem or purchase what’s missing.  Our goal is to keep you safe!  Inspections will take place at the launch ramp by the marina.  We can inspect trailered boats prior to launch or those already on the water.  For your convenience, we have an online scheduling system with 15-minute time slots available at various times on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  Please schedule your voluntary boat safety inspection here => https://calendly.com/ilboatinspection.
 
(2) The PA Fish and Boat Commission will hold a FREE Basic Boating course at Indian Lake Lodge on Saturday, June 11, from 8 am to 4 pm.  You must pass this course to receive a permanent Boating Safety Education Certificate.
 
Boating Safety Education Certificates are required:
  • To operate a personal watercraft
  • For persons born on or after January 1, 1982, to operate boats powered by motors greater than 25 horsepower.
 
The minimum age to operate a personal watercraft or boat with more than 25 hp, is 12 years old.  This class is a convenient opportunity for anyone 12 or older who plans to operate a watercraft on Indian Lake.  To sign up for the class, please email Dina Cable (DCable@pa.gov) or Chief Bellak (policechief@indianlakepa.gov) with a name and phone number for each student.  In the email, please note that you are interested in the Indian Lake class and include the student’s age if they are under 18.
 
(3) For the third weekend of June (18th) I am considering a FREE Kayaking clinic taught by U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary volunteer Bill Turner.  The clinic is about 2 hours in length with 5-7 people per group.  It starts with 30-40 minutes of safety and best practices on the shore followed by 90 minutes of hands-on instruction in the water.  If you are interested in attending a Kayak clinic, please send an email to Mayor@indianlakepa.gov.  If we have enough interest, I’ll do my best to get it scheduled.
 
(4) The last weekend of June, our Parks and Recreation Committee will host some fun Boating Safety activities at the Indian Lake Marina.  We’ll provide more details later.
 
FREE Safe Boating Key Floats and Whistles
 
As a reminder to Boat Safely and Be Courteous to Others, the Borough will distribute FREE key floats and safety whistles to boaters during the various activities we have planned in June.  The whistles are legal sound producing devices for all watercraft on Indian Lake.  The whistle has a built-in clip making it easy to attach to a strap on your Personal Flotation Device (life jacket) so it’s always handy, especially when operating a Personal Watercraft.  The bright orange key floats are easy to see and should keep your keys from finding their way to the bottom of the lake if they fall out of your pocket.  The floats have a QR code link to our Safe Boating Tips Video.
Dangerous Debris in the Lake
 
Freezing and thawing while the lake was lowered has loosened stumps and driftwood from the lake bottom that are now floating around.  The unprecedented amount of waterfront work done around the lake recently has also contributed lumber and other floating debris.  Chief Bellak and the Borough Road Crew are working to remove as much debris as they can find and secure.  When this E-news was written, the clean-up crew had already removed three dump truck loads of debris, and they estimated at least twice that much was still out there.  I applaud their effort to rid the lake of this dangerous debris.  However, no matter how hard they try, some will be missed.  Please be vigilant when boating this summer, especially early in the season.  If you see floating debris and can remove it safely, please do so.  You may save someone from an injury or damaged boat.
NEW Ordinance Regulating Free Floating Vessels (#196)
 
I want to thank the Borough Council for passing the Free-Floating Vessel Ordinance presented early this year.  Ordinance #196 establishes a process for addressing free-floating watercraft, docks, and other hazards to navigation.  It protects the boating public as well as the owner of the free-floating vessel.  Although the ordinance enables fines and other penalties in line with PA Borough Code, it is NOT in place to penalize our residents.
 
Thanks to this ordinance, we now have a process whereby our Police Department will investigate a reported free-floating vessel to determine if the vessel broke loose from its mooring or the operator fell overboard.  If the police have evidence to indicate a person fell overboard, a search and rescue mission will be launched.  If the vessel has broken loose from its mooring, the police will attempt to contact the owner to retrieve the vessel.  If the vessel’s owner cannot be contacted, they cannot retrieve the vessel in a reasonable time, or the vessel presents a clear and present hazard, the marina will be asked to tow the vessel and store it at the owner’s expense until it is claimed.  The police boat will not tow another vessel unless it is an extreme situation.  This is similar to operating on land, where the police would contact a tow truck for a disabled vehicle that is a hazard to general traffic.
 
As I mentioned earlier, Ordinance #196 in not for penalizing residents.  It will help us protect our residents and keep the lake safe.
Enjoy Your Summer!
 
I wish everyone a safe and enjoyable summer.  Please Boat Safely and Be Courteous to Others!
 
You are welcome to contact me with questions and comments.  My email address is Mayor@indianlakepa.gov.
 
Sincerely,

Jay McClatchey, Mayor
Indian Lake Borough
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