Editorial Opinion - Todays News Herald

Lake Havasu is filled with big boats and small boats and fast boats and slow boats. Can’t everyone just get along?

Hooray for the Lake Havasu Marine Association for proactively seeking boater engagement as a way to reduce accidents and injuries and deaths. The Association, pointing to a recent spate of accidents, is pushing boaters to assume responsibilities for actions that could lead to accidents.

Specifically, the Association is drawing attention to unsafe overtaking of slower boats, intoxication, using flotation devices and using safety lanyards for auto-shutoff.

The safety calls may not seem like much, or at least not like much new, but the association’s driving mantra is that Lake Havasu offers “freedom to boat.”

If dancing that fine line is not enough, the Association is also engaging the plethora of agencies with enforcement powers on the lake to assure everyone’s working from the same base data on safety and accidents.

Asking boaters to be more responsible may not achieve the desired results. Likewise, involving government could have unintended consequences. But the alternative to the Association’s message is clear: More rules and more laws and a lot less freedom to boat. It doesn’t use these words, but the Association’s recent position statement may as well have said: Police yourself or be policed.

Lake Havasu is a big draw for performance boats seeking a lake big enough to play and without absolute speed limits. These bigger boats going at high speed produce large wakes. Big, fast boats and their wakes are some of the key concerns from the Association.

Lake Havasu doesn’t need speed limits beyond those already in place for no-wake zones. State law already requires that boats be operated at speeds appropriate for conditions. The law has enough teeth already to cite a boat going excessively fast in traffic or in the narrow confines of a river canyon.

The Marine Association is seeking education. We applaud that. Slow learners need tickets and fines to keep them from becoming the reason boating freedom is a thing of the past on Lake Havasu.