The Stewards of Jackfish/Murray Lakes and the RM of Meota No. 486 recently launched a co-operative initiative to formally mark the Rock Island hazard on Jackfish Lake.
Jackfish Lake was formed by a glacier that left behind Rock Island just off the coast of Martinson’s Beach. Over many years, the Rock Island hazard has been responsible for injury to many and significant damage to watercraft using the lake. The approximate GPS coordinates are 53.089939, -108.409637 .
In preparation for marking this known hazard, the SJML has consulted extensively with the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans, determining requirements under private buoy regulations, and providing specific information such as GPS location, size, water depths, pictures and approximate numbers of boats potentially using the lake, to further the goal of marking this hazard.
Volunteers carried out a watercraft survey to determine the approximate number of vessels (boats with motors, personal watercraft, sailboats) potentially using Jackfish Lake on Aug. 12 and 13, 2017. Since users of Murray Lake often travel to Jackfish to boat, the volunteers needed to also survey the number of vessels on Murray Lake.
The survey was taken from the water to count all vessels that were visible on lifts or docked near the shoreline. In addition, any boats on trailers in residential areas were counted. This was done in the early morning when most boats were still on the lifts or docked near the shoreline.
To try to get an approximation of the number of boats that are coming in from other jurisdictions, empty boat trailers located at the boat launches around both lakes were also counted in the afternoon.
During good weather and during summer vacation, it is anticipated that this number would grow significantly from time to time. In total 1,574 watercraft were counted around Jackfish Lake and Murray Lake.
After consultations, a design and review specialist with the Aids to Navigation Office of the Canadian Coast Guard has recommended the approved marker buoy and light that meets requirements under the relevant acts/regulations.
The Rock Island hazard will be marked with a lighted yellow spar buoy that has a 254-millimetre (10-inch) diameter that will extend approximately one metre (39 inches) out of the water. The solar lantern illuminating the buoy will flash intermittently and should be visible for at least one nautical mile. The SJML will be responsible for the annual placement and removal of the buoy.
The SJML wish to acknowledge and thank all the volunteers who contributed to the project as well as the RM of Meota for their approval and support to mark this well-known hazard. This should go a long way in minimizing collisions and injury to users of Jackfish Lake who are boating in this area.