About a month after posting our article A Paddle Along the Mystic, a reader picked up on my comment about boat wakes and pointed out that the Lower Mystic and the Mystic River are supposed to be no wake zones.
This was very different from what I’ve experienced since moving close to the lake a few years ago. On just about every nice weekend, it is common to hear multiple motor boats and personal watercraft vehicles racing up and down the lake and river. I was vaguely aware of the no wake policy (posted on the mass.gov website), but assumed it was an old rule that the authorities ignored – and was content to leave it at that.
However, last Saturday Jess and I were in the mood to take the kayak out for a quick paddle – but there were multiple boats zipping around the lake and the resulting wake made it nearly impossible to enjoy. At one point, just getting in and out of the kayak on the river’s shore was tricky – and potentially dangerous.
The problem is, the Lower Mystic Lake is simply too small a body of water to handle this type of motorized traffic. Waves produced near the center of the lake quickly reach the shoreline. In addition, watching multiple boats compete for the limited elbow room in the middle of the lake had me thinking that near misses and accidents were a very real possibility.
So I decided to take our reader’s suggestion and contact my State Representative, Sean Garballey, for more information on the subject. Sean let me know that boat traffic on the lake has been an issue for a while and that it was recently brought to his attention again. He confirmed that the lake is supposed to be for power boats with no wake, and that the State Police are supposed to enforce this.
Today I received another email from Sean telling me that he talked with the State Marine Police and that they have increased their enforcement efforts on Mystic Lake, starting this past week. In addition, they will be increasing signage and efforts to make the public aware of this policy
I haven’t had many direct experiences with my elected officials, but this one definitely left me with a positive feeling. Heck, at one point Sean even offered up his cell phone number in case I wanted to discuss the matter further! That type of response and attention to issues is so valuable, and goes a long way to inspire confidence in our political process and those who represent us.
On most Saturdays, the sound of boat engines racing and revving is pretty prominent in my neighborhood, however, today is noticeably quieter… it seems like this has had some impact already. I plan on heading out for a paddle a little later with a few friends to enjoy it. Thanks, Sean.