GOES WITHOUT SAYING                       
                                            LAKE ETIQUETTE

Have you ever heard someone say or speak of lake etiquette?  What is lake etiquette ? It is common sense and practicing the golden rule. The more I thought about it,  researched it, and  the depth of the subject was bottomless.  

​What is the golden rule ?.  The  definition is described as a reciprocal or a two way relationship between ones self and others.  Respect equally in a mutual fashion.  One should treat others, as one would like others to treat them. Common Sense !


Over the years,  several different thoughts have been discussed about this.  So information has been put together
information and idea's so others can read and think about this.Things that are mentioned may seem petty or knit picky, but for those that are experiencing "issues" they are very real. Mentioned are things some might not think about, and very interesting. Some might not agree. This subject can be controversial.  If you haven't experienced someone with undesirable behavior around the pond, count your blessings.  You are indeed ,  "one of the lucky ones."
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​​​​Living by the water is a different way of life.
Neighbors can make or break cottage life.  We all   have to balance everyones needs for privacy.  Privacy is important, no matter if you are a person who likes to entertain and party all the time or one who likes to live the quiet life. 

Getting to know your neighbors and getting along with them has it's advantages.  You can make lifelong friends.  When either one of you need a helping hand, you can be there for each other.  When you are gone the neighbors can keep an eye on your property, and you can do the same for them.  This is especially nice during the off season.

Do a comparison. Think about this.  
Think about your home,  you may live on a street or close to the highway.  You are use to traffic and people passing by your house. You are use to a certain amount of noise as traffic passes.  What you would not be use to is someone on a 4 wheeler, mini bike, or in a vehicle doing donuts in front of your house, driveway, or on the street.  People hanging out of their car windows, yelling, screaming or drinking, Loud music.  Night time disturbances are very rude and unnerving.  ​You expect people traveling the highway to obey the laws, drive safely and behave in a  orderly fashion.  ​You don't own the street, but you can see it every day, it is in your front yard, it is your view.  You pay your share of taxes.  You pick up trash,  rake and mow your lawn.  You wave and are respectful to people who pass by.  Some stop and chat, you are friendly, so are your neighbors. You keep your children and pets under control and at home.  Every one is happy.

​Now lets think in the same terms,  only you are now living or residing on a body of water.   Would it be unreasonable to have the same feelings and thoughts?  Think about this.  People who own shoreline property view this area in front of them as their front yard. It is the window to their world.  Most shoreline owners maintain the area in front of their place. This benefits all of us, the environment and wildlife.  Shoreline property owners pay taxes too.  If this is their second home, they pay a higher rate of tax.​ They have a vested interest in all of this.  Who would blame anyone if they have a problem with people who are disrespectful, in their face and their space, abusing the environment.
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​Being able to live by the water is a privileged.  You don't find a pond or a lake around every corner.  They are
not abundant , available or affordable for everyone.​​​​​​​​ There is nothing worse than a neighbor from hell, well... maybe there is.  A neighbor from hell with undisciplined children,  noisy pets,  multiple motorized water crafts and a need to party every weekend.  Neighbors can be really nice, or they can make your life miserable.  Its all about balancing life styles,  caring,  consideration and respect.  Uncaring neighbors can make you miserable and make you think about wanting to move

 ​​Before you buy a place, check out the people who live in the immediate area. If your lifestyles are compatible, most of the time things will be fine. Interact, mingle and talk with adjoining neighbors. Ask what it is like to live in the hood. ​ If they are truthful, and there are problems, most of the time they will tell you . ​ Check out the obvious signs of busy activity. Visit on a weekend.  ​ If there is a shoreline filled with "stuff" and loads of company, you might want to rethink being next door to these folks.  This decision should be considered carefully.  It could depend on your happiness.  If you are a party person,  love loads of company, then you probably won't mind having busy, noisy neighbors, and sleepless nights.

Are you retired and like the quiet life style ?  A neighbor like yourself may be the one you want to be living next to. ​ ​If you are already living by the lake and the place next door goes up for sale.  Cross your fingers that the buyer is responsible.  No one really wants to move,  especially if you are living your dream. ​​You can "turn the other cheek"  when issues arise but that only works for a little while.  No one wants to cause any trouble, but lets face it, you already have trouble. When life no longer is tolerable something has to give.  You could just mind your own business, that works if you are a saint. In the long run their business ends up being your business, if they infringe on your rights.

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Consider this ! How lucky anyone is to be living on a scenic body of water. ​More people than ever
have taken to spending time on lakes and ponds.  ​​A water oasis.  It draws people and wildlife to it like a magnet.  Unlike a city street covered in asphalt, or a crowed, noisy water park,  this is a delicate environment.  Surrounded by forest, laced with golden sand, blue skies, and filled with  all the wonders of scenic beauty and wildlife that anyone could ask for.
​Have you ever noticed at night on the pond, the stars are brighter, and the sky seems bluer.  There is a reason, no smog, no pollution.​ Mmm, fresh air, peace and quiet except for the call of the loon !

​We all come to the lake for a reason, usually for rest, relaxation and down time. Some come for fun, fun, fun.   People need to realize that they may need to adjust their habits and be more considerate when they buy a place  by the water.  It is different from home and the city life.  As a matter of fact. it is nothing at all like city life.  Remember this is what makes the cottage life so special.  The key to happiness,  follow the golden rule. 

A water environment is priceless.   ​Those of us who spend a lot of time near the water know and see the drawbacks and pitfalls that come with a popular water recreational area.  Problems rear their  head and sometimes  become unacceptable.  More so when the  population explodes during the warmer months.  No one wants to be a killjoy. Having fun is one of the greatest joys in life.  Water adds an exciting element to life and opens up the mind and body to another world, interacting with nature and the outdoors, where you can have many wonderful adventures and experiences. Imagine, no smog, no noise, no congestion, WRONG !

​​​​Have you ever heard of anyone say they love the grinding sounds of a 
personal water craft, or the noise of a roaring high powered speed boats on a continual basis ?   It can be very unnerving and grating to the ears.  In some opinions,  big, high powered water crafts just don't fit into a small, delicate water environment.  ​There are those that will say "baloney".  "Live with it, you don't own the pond". You can't tell people what to do.  If these people played by the rules, no one would feel that way.  ​And there would be no need for law enforcement on the water. The ugly truth is we need more water enforcement on the water, because of the behavior of the unsupervised boating population.

​The big question is why don't some folks treat the pond gently, treat it like its their own, instead of a place to abuse, rip and tear up, puke and party.  To add insult to injury,  after all that, they up and leave behind a trail of trash, that impacts wildlife and the water.

Some of these actions are unsafe boating practices. No one minds seeing a canoe or boat pass by their dock. But when a loud motorized watercraft spends countless amounts of time going round and round,  and round and round in front of your place, doing donuts, or whiz by so fast the sound is deafening and they leave a wake on your shoreline that will wash your chairs off your deck, smash your boat against the dock, it is enough to make most people upset and say enough !

​​There is no excuse for bad behavior.  Just learning to adjust speed according to the proximity to the shoreline and keep moving on, that is acceptable.  In doing that boats become less invasive. 
​​​​Larger ponds and lakes seem better suited to high speed activity.  Bigger, wider lakes offer more room to fly across the water, are less crowded. High powered vessels can open the throttle and cruise endlessly. Waters this size  affords those that want to ride the waves, race and raise hell they have the room and the opportunity to stay away from congested boating areas, shorelines and people. It still doesn't give anyone dibs on breaking boating laws.

​​​​​Etiquette and safety on the water is a given. Fortunately there are boating laws and people who respect wildlife, the environment, neighbors, and visitors alike, including boaters, fishermen and folks who play and swim in the waters.​​​​​​​​​​
​​​​​We all like to consider the pond our personal ​​waters.  The truth is no one person owns the pond.  We share the water with everyone.  If you don't want to share the water with everyone, your option is to buy a piece of property with a body of water on it.  Then you only have to share with those that you want to share it with.
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​​​​We all have a stake in keeping the water clean, the fish jumping and the loons returning year after year.  Over the years there has been a tremendous amount of change regarding growth and human impact.  Progress and growth never stops. But maybe in some places it should be restricted.  Like special places that cannot be replaced.  One can only wonder how long the water and the surrounding environment will maintain its purity and balance when it becomes over use. In order to keep it pristine, we all need to practice good habits and work to protect it.

​​​If you happen to be one of the first to take a swim in May
or the last person out in October, use common sense. ​ What ever you do. don't use shampoo or soap in the lake.  Use biodegradable soaps and only on land. When you wash your boat, move it far away from the waters edge.    If you like to fish, that is wonderful.  If you don't plan to eat the fish, use barb less hooks,  catch and release, take a picture and then brag about the bigger one that got away...Leave a few for the kids to catch, and some for the wildlife too.  Don't spill gasoline into the water, fill your gas tanks up carefully,  away from the water.  Don't contaminate the water.  Critters and fish live on and in it.  People use the water.
Watch the Loons from a distance, or any wildlife for that matter.  This is what the experts say.   Stay far away from nesting sites in the spring when the loons are at their most vulnerable and sensitive to any disturbances.  Keep your distance when they have their young.  Remember, this is their home too. Simply put, if you want them around, don't bother them. 

Canoes and Kayaks can be purchased at a very reasonable price and it is not uncommon for families to own several.  This has brought an influx of paddle boaters into the back waters. Putting nesting birds at risk, when they cruise the shorelines. Treat yourself to a good camera with a zoom lens, take pictures from a distance. Stay back from the shoreline, give these nesters their space. Bring a pair of binoculars with you. Don't be invasive.
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People should know that they need to tube, ski and boat safely in the middle of the lake where we can all enjoy their skills and their wake will dissipated by the time it reaches the shore.  ​Boats should be run  fast enough to be up on plane.  Every boater should take in to account that they need to minimize wake damage to the shoreline.  Boats that are tied to docks take a real beating.  Be considerate of your neighbors when bringing in your skiers.  ​Don't sweep the shoreline to drop them off.  Stop and have them get back into the boat. Give them a ride back to shore. These are responsible actions.

Its very important to pay attention when boating on the water. If you have never taken a boater safety course, review them.  Respect wildlife in the water, boat around them, give them a wide berth. Don't take it for granted that that duck, loon or gull is going to be able to move out of your way when speeding down the lake.  It's not always the case. Dead water fowl have been killed by having the top of their head sheared off, or part of their back missing from being run over by a boat propeller, this includes loons,  ducks, adults and chicks alike,  hit and killed by speeding water vehicles. Its a sad sight, such a waste, and it's called harassment, subject to fines by law. 

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Children and adults alike swim and play close to the shore.  Some will swim across the pond.  Swimmers should wear bright caps, and have a support boat follow them for obvious reasons.

​Teach  children that when they are in the water,  "not to scream".  It's scares the pants off of people whose first thoughts are that some child in the water is in trouble or worse, could be drowning....One of the first things a parent should teach their children, is NOT TO SCREAM around  the water.  It sends the wrong message.  

Rules applying to a NO WAKE ZONE, are to boat very slowly within 200 feet of the shoreline, so not to create a wake.  TWO HUNDRED FEET !  Unfortunately there seems to be some boaters who ignore this or just don't know.  We have all heard the excuse that "the pond is too narrow" and so therefore you can't avoid being close to the shoreline, no matter where you boat.  Well this excuse is called nonsense !  If indeed the body of water is too narrow, then the boater should not be going fast.  That's just the way it is.  There may be times when traffic is congested, boaters need to sort this out and move away from these areas, especially when pulling water sports objects loaded with passengers.  












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​​​​​​Have you ever been in a sailboat, canoe or kayak and become swamped ?  There have been                 incidences where a speeding boater passes by small motor less boats without care or       
       concern.  Most don't even notice, full speed ahead.
 In a sailboat i have had the experience not once but three times where i BECAME SWAMPED, ending up sitting in water in my boat 5 inches deep and bailing out and headed for the nearest shoreline to save myself, my belongings and my boat. 

There are those who are going to criticize what has been written here.  Usually the ones that do are the ones that do nothing except state their opinions.   If you don't experience some of these issues, of course they are not going to be something that impacts your way of enjoying the lake and the environment.  

​Slow down before passing other boaters in close proximity, so you don't create a wake.  Boats that don't have motors are helpless, they can't move out of your way.  This is called boating safety and common courtesy.
​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Sound carrys extremely well on the pond.  Much better than on land.  No one should expect folks who have barbeques, and celebrations to be quiet.  It makes common sense to respect your neighbors rights to peaceful enjoyment of their property as well.  Remind your family and guests to keep it down,  especially if the party goes later than bedtime hours. if it does, take it inside. We are all supposed to be civilized.  Bedtime hours are considered anything after 10pm. (Including the State campgrounds) Property owners are legally liable for certain offences under law. Some people are early risers, and go to bed early.​
Folks on the other side of the pond can hear
every word of a conversation especially at night, so they will certainly hear blasting party music, loud voices and vulgar language. ​ How many times have you heard soone riding around in their boat,  in the middle of the night with the music blasting. 

​​​​​​​​​​​Many people question why anyone would want to cruise around the pond at night in a boat, blasting loud music, when indeed they could be listening to the sounds and songs of the night,  like the peepersor the loons. Everyone has rights, but being rude and inconsiderate is not one of them.
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Fireworks are another issue.  It's a love hate relationship with many. Children, pets and wildlife become frantic and terrified.  People who want to see fireworks don't seem to care. They want what they want.
​​​​​​​When the public fireworks show is over t
hat should be the end of it.  Fun is fun, but enough is enough!  Remember those who don't care for it have to listen to it. Find some common ground.  Put yourself in their place.​  Some folks actually have to leave their place for the evening when the 4th rolls around, because of their pets.  Just think how the wildlife feels....They don't have a choice or a voice. Certain fireworks like sparklers and roman candles are legal for personal use.  Large display type fireworks are illegal without a permit. Don't set the woods on fire.

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​​Be very ca​​reful with outside camping fires.  It is enjoyable to gather around a campfire, share stories, cook smore's and hot dogs, or have a cocktail.  Keep in mind that fire can be a scary and dangerous thing, especially if it becomes out of control, the woods can catch on fire. 

​The lake is surrounded by woods. Always check the wind and the fire hazard conditions.  Be certain that it is okay to have a fire..  Never leave fire unattended. Always have a hose near by or a bucket of water.  Make sure that the fire is out before leaving it. No one wants to see the place they love burned to the ground.​​ Direct all outside spotlights downward, and away from directly shining into
your neighbors yard.  Use motion detectors and solar lights.  They are less invasive. 

Respect your neighbors property.  Don't park in their parking spot, or block the driveways.  Advise guest where to park if you don't have parking space, tell them to car pool, ask your neighbors if you can use some of their space.  Don't pick their berries, or  fish off their docks..  Don't cast over their docks or underneath them from a boat.  All with good reason. There are waterlines, cables attached to the shorelines tethering docks,  mooring lines for boats, buoys marking rocks and obstuctions that lines become caught in.  No one says that fisherman cannot fish around or near docks, but use common sense.  If the owner is on shore,  ask them if there are any underwater hazards you should know about, or where the fishing is good.  Just that friendly conversation might be enough to get you a friendly response.. Fishing is fun. The pond is full of them. There are not all under this persons dock. 

 I know someone who has a large collection of fishing lures that they found over time on their dock,  stuck in the top of their canvas boat top,  caught on the seat of their boat, snagged in trees and bushes on the shoreline.  A child was snagged by a hook in his life jacket when someone cast over the dock from a boat,  towards the shoreline.  Thank God it wasn't his head. The kid was just playing on the beach . This could result in  obvious injury to anyone,  kids,  dogs, and damage personal property. ​

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Dispose of your garbage properly.  if you don't you could end up with unwanted visitors, including skunks, raccoons and bears. Clean your cooker up,  if you don't the time may come when one night  you may see a bear lapping up the grease on your cooker,  or knocking over your open rubbish containers.  Educate your guest not to throw food or cigarettes into the bushes, cans and bottles.

​​ Don't feed the wildlife, including the birds.  Bird seed is a magnet for critters.  Fish and Wildlife officials say not to feed them, especially in the summer months.  Ther is plenty of natural food available for them.  If you do feed them, expect an invasion of moles mice, rats, chipmunks and a variety of other critters. They become a nuisence and a health hazard. Remember, most of the critters that come to your feeders have to cross other peoples property, so by feeding wildlife you are now you are creating problems for your neighbors too. Feeding is also a bear magnet...Don't complain if your place is invaded by one of these big hairy creatures, eventually they will come inside and sadly you may have caused their demise by fish and wildlife having to dispatch them.  Remember a fed bear is a dead bear.
Folks need to take responsibility for their pet(s)?  How rude to let them run loose and invade the  neighbors yard.  And yes they do  poop all over the place, this includes cats who love to use the beach as a litter box, how disgusting. If you have to bring your cat, keep it inside.  If you let any pet run loose outside, it becomes part of the food chain. 
Remember that, when they come up missing.

​When taking your dog for a walk,  carry a plastic bag with you.  Pick up the poop and dispose of properly.   Please, please, please,  don't tie your dog(s) up outside, and leave it to bark all day, while you are away.

Think about how a dogs constant barking could  ruin someones else's day.​ If you endure this as a next door neighbor, let the person with the barking dog know about it.  Most of the time they don't realize this is happening, and why would they, they are not there to hear it.  Hopefully they will correct that.


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Many towns have adopted ordinances. That includes disturbances, dog lease laws, etc.  When you feel that things are out of control, do something about it. 

​I can only say this.  Why does anyone think it is okay to let a neighbor abuse the rest of the neighborhood?  Why ? 
​We live in a world of bullies. Don't be the victim.  Don't call the law for things you could work out by speaking up and having a friendly discussion with the neighbor about the issue. Remember it's all a balancing act. For serious things, it may be a matter for the authorities. Be nice, play fair, follow the rules.​​
The world is different  now.  We all need to be aware of this.​ Drugs and alcohol play a part in this world we live in today, like it or not.  Loud music, screaming, yelling, swearing,  whether it be continual noise from a boat or a car mufler,  no one has to endure this. The authorities would like to know about it.  This is their job, not yours.  This kind of behavior will continue if you don't put the brakes on..  It is not appreciated and unwelcome.  ​

​The Lake is certainly here for all to enjoy and share. No one denies anyone these privledges, unless they practice bad behavior.  ​It's fun to have fun, and at one time or another some of us have broken the rules of ediquette, hopefully anyone who has,  will read this and realize how their behavior may have effected others.  Learn and be the wiser.  There will always be those who just don't get it. We are only human and people make mistakes. Sometimes someone has to speak up that knows right from wrong. Are you that person ?

Education and common sense play a big role in how we enjoy life on the pond.  (or any where) Lake ediquette is not 
just about being on or in the water, it's about people on the shore too. 
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Fortunately , we have the State Police Marine division and Fish and Wildlife Wardens that frequent our waters and the local town Constable who are all available to help.  For serious matters,  Call 911.    
​Lets hope that those of us in the know educate the ones that do not know,  by talking.

​ "It goes without saying"  that sometimes you do have to speak up and say something . You may just save someone's from being injured or worse. 


 

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***Wakes cause the shorelines to erode, docks and floating rafts are knocked about and flooded over.  No one, and I mean no one likes to have a watercraft go round and round and round in front of their place..  We all just wish that they would move on.  Horsing around on the water is a big NO NO !  Some practice this kind of activity on any given day and that is the norm for them.  Anyone who has eyes on the water can see it.  This kind of activity doesn't win any votes.  There are ponds and lakes that have a ban on PWC'S and speed limit's as a result of this kind of behavior. There is a need to educate people.  Preferably in a kindly manner, by passing the word along, neighbor to neighbor.
Read on, you might just read something you didn't know.  Somethings are eye openers.
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