a ruler's guide to the lake
In an ongoing series, we'll look at some great standards and best practices to live by on The Lake to maximize your lake rep and go down in the annals of Lake history as one of the greats!
One of my earliest memories of being on the lake was way back in the late 80s, when our old Viking deck boat stopped working. I remember multiple family members jumping in the water to swim with ropes to tow that old dog into the marina. That stunk. I also remember a time later when our Bayliner stopped working, and a nice person in another boat giving us a tow into the marina. That did not stink. In fact, it was an act that I think is somewhat standard and representative of the lake life, and those that truly Rule The Lake will adhere by rule # 3: Always help out your fellow lakers...and your lake.
Towards the end of last year's lake season, Logan and I were taking the boat to our favorite restaurant/bar on the lake, Wolfie's, we saw two men in a pontoon boat waving at us out off to the distance. Since you've made it to my site and to this post, I assume you are a savvy and experienced ruler of the lake, so you know that someone waving their hands over their head at you on a boat is the universal sign for "I need a tow!" If you've been on a lake or owned a boat long enough, you've undoubtedly given someone this wave before. I hope they answered! Even though we had plans and there were other boats around us, we saw them waving, established eye contact, and set our course to see what was up. Not surprisingly, they were stalled and needed a tow back to the marina. We happily obliged, because that is what you do on the lake. We are a community, and we help each other out, no exceptions!
So far this early summer, I've seen plenty of bad behavior on the lake (freaking wave-runners), however I've witnessed at least 3 people giving random boaters a lift, and especially around the marina I see people help others dock and tie their boats up. This is part of the "brotherhood of man" atmosphere that we should all strive to encourage and cultivate around the lake (wouldn't be a bad idea for something to spread all around the world too....but that's a different blog), which is why I'm putting it down as Rule #3! If you're in a position to help a stranded vessel, a difficult docking job, or any of the other numerous things you encounter in and around the lake, get involved and help! You will certainly need it sometime. Give a penny, take a penny! Plus, it's a great way to make new friends, and you can't have too many friends on the lake. We witnessed one group of youngsters towing in a man and his son, and they all got free beers out of it! There's hope for you Millenials yet!
One final caveat to this rule is that it also extends to your lake. I was out one evening and saw a large piece of a dock float floating in the middle of the lake. I watched three boats drive right by it without even considering to stop and pick it up. I picked it up, hauled it back to my place and tossed it. The same goes for pieces of wood and/or trash. Take a moment and pick it up and/or haul it to the shore. You wouldn't want to run your prop over a log, or a broken dock, or anything at all in fact. Take pride in your lake, and take pride in caring for others! I paid three kids $15 once to pull a tree into the shore and tie it off just so it wouldn't float into mine and my neighbor's props (gotta earn some street cred with the neighborhood kids that play near my dock). Same thing goes if you find a lost ski, or towable, or any other lake toy that occasionally go missing. Do your best to find out who's it is or where you can leave it. There is so much technology available today (i.e. Nextdoor app), you should be able to find the owner or at least leave a note somewhere that you've found this xyz item. If you don't care to take care of the lake, and you don't help out other lakers when they need it, you definitely do not Rule The Lake, and we don't want that!