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Lake Waramaug offers a host of recreational opportunities: walking, biking, fishing, swimming, camping, rowing, kayaking and canoeing, sailing and boating.
Boating on Lake Waramaug presents many opportunities for fun and relaxation, but also poses the biggest threat for the introduction of invasive weeds, as well as potential safety issues.
Washington Boat LaunchOpening this Saturday, April 18th!
During this difficult time, the town realizes the importance of opening the ramp for lake access. Although if at any time the ramp attendants or the Lake Waramaug Authority feel that conditions are unsafe and guidelines are not being followed, the ramp will be closed until it is deemed safe and appropriate to reopen.
The ramp will be operating on spring hours which are Saturdays, Sundays, and Wednesdays from 6:00 to 11:00 a. m. and 4:00 p.m. to sunset. There is a $25 annual sticker fee. All boats will be inspected for invasives and subject to a $5 per launch inspection fee. Parking is limited, so it will be on a first come first served basis. Violators will be towed. In order to adhere to social distancing parameters, please bring exact change or a check made out to the Town of Washington. For your safety and the safety of the ramp attendants, there will be no/limited contact. There will be NO PUBLIC BATHROOMS so plan accordingly.
The town wishes to thank you in advance for working with them to enjoy the lake as safely as possible.
A Special Message for Safe BoatingDuring our membership meeting last September, several of our members raised concerns about wakeboard boats and the large wakes they generate. These wakes can create hazards for swimmers, people enjoying smaller self propelled vessels, such as canoes, kayaks, paddle boards, rowing shells, sailboats etc, as well as causing damage to docks and floats. In addition, their wakes can also cause environmental damage to the shoreline and pose an erosive threat to the Lake's sensitive shoreline area by disturbing the bottom, churning up sediments and potentially causing harm to native aquatic plants, fish, and the newly introduced zooplankton which have been farmed at the Task Force facility. Lake Waramaug is a relatively small lake which is shared by many users, both residents and visitors to the State Park. We ask all of our members to be considerate of others to ensure that everyone can enjoy the lake safely.
With that in mind, the Washington Police have asked us to include the following message from them:
Washington Police Department
2A Bryan Plaza
Washington, CT 06794
Subject: Lake Waramaug Safety
With summer approaching we want everyone to have an enjoyable time on the Lake with friends and family this year. Safety is the top priority for everyone and one that we all can help participate in. As many of you know the lake is used for many different purposes including but not limited to boating, kayaking, canoeing, rowing, tubing and swimming. We ask that everyone takes the time to be courteous to one another as this is the best way to help ensure safety of ALL on the lake.
Below are a few of the safety rules and regulations adopted by the State of Connecticut that we all should be aware of to help ensure safety. Lake Waramuag Authority patrols will be out there this summer enforcing all safety regulations and conducting safety checks!
- Boating while underway: Boats shall not operate closer than 100 feet from the shoreline, dock, buoy, anchored vessel or when towing a wakeboarder/skier/tuber, unless you are taking off or landing the wakeboarder /skier/tuber
- Jet skis shall not operate within 200 feet from the shoreline, dock, buoy or anchored vessel when underway
- When operating within 100 feet of a restricted swimming area you shall operate at a Slow-No-Wake speed. Violators of this statute (C.G.S.15-133(f), are subject to a $75.00 fine
- Observers while engaged in wake boarding, water skiing or tubing: No person under the age of 12 may be an observer on a jet ski or vessel engaged in wakeboarding, waterskiing or towing a tube. There shall always be an observer no younger than 12 years old observing. Violators of this statute (C.G.S.15-134 (a)), are subject to a $80.00 fine
- Kayaks/ Canoes & Paddle Boarders: Life jackets are to be on board the vessel at all times and are to be worn between the dates of October 1 thru May 31. Violators of this statute (C.G.S.15-121-A-17) are subject to a $75.00 fine
- Life jackets/personal flotation devices for children: Every person under the age of 13 MUST wear a life jacket while the boat is underway. Violators of this statute (C.G.S. 15-129a (1)), are subject to a $75.00 fine.
- Age restrictions for operating a motorized vessel: No person under the age of 12 may operate a propelled vessel greater than 10 horsepower unless accompanied by a person 18 years of age or older, who has a safe boating certificate. Violators of this statute (C.G.S.15-140(h)), are subject to a $80.00 fine.
- Manual powered vessels: powered motorized vessels shall yield and give the right of way to ANY MANUAL powered vessel including kayaks, rowing shells, canoes and paddle boards. Violators of this statute (C.G.S 15-121-a14), are subject to a $75.00 fine.
- Be aware of swimmers: It is recommended that swimmers either wear a fluorescent colored cap, or have a red buoy attached to them so you are visible to boats. This is to ensure swimmers are safe.
- Police Patrols will be conducting safety checks and enforcement throughout the summer. Please ensure your vessel has a life jacket for each person on board along with one throwable device, a working fire extinguisher, a working horn or portable air horn and ensure all your vessels lights are working prior to launching or leaving your dock.
- Connecticut Boaters Rules and Regulation Guides are available upon request of the Lake Waramaug Authority or the Washington Police. Guides are also available at your local town halls.
Under Connecticut Law, boaters must inspect their vessel for vegetation and properly remove and dispose of any vegetation before transporting the vessel; violations are subject to fines. To reinforce this law, the launching of boats on Lake Waramaug is restricted, and the Town of Washington passed a boat inspection ordinance.
$25.00 annual sticker fee.
All boats will be inspected for milfoil and subject to a $5.00 per launch inspection fee. Parking limited on a first come, first served basis. Violators will be towed.
You must provide boat and trailer registration, current Driver’s License and Safe Boating Certificate. Parking is limited to eight spaces (including one handicapped space) on a first-come, first-serve basis. Violators will be towed. Boats leaving the lake should be at the launch at least 20 minutes prior to the scheduled closing time. Extra fee for late removal is $75.00.
Do not launch boats from any other location! For further information check the Parks & Recreation web page or call at 860-868-1519.
The Lake Waramaug Agreement
An agreement between the three towns and the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection was signed in September 2004, following near unanimous approvals at town meetings. Major elements of the agreement include:
- No state boat launch will be built at the Lake.
- The sole public motorboat access to the Lake will be the Washington Town Ramp.
- Environmental inspection will be required for all motorboats entering the Lake at the Washington Boat Ramp.
- Washington Boat Ramp has been reconstructed to improve safety, access and parking.
- A maximum of 20 non-resident motorboats (13 from campers at the state park and 7 day boaters) will be allowed on the Lake at any one time. Thirteen non-resident motorboats operated by campers actually residing at the State Park Campground for at least two nights may be admitted through the Washington Launch with appropriate documentation from the State Park and upon payment of the required fees. See below.
- The fee for the Washington Launch season pass is $25.00 plus a boat inspection fee of $5.00 for each entry.
The agreement provides that car-top boats (12 HP engine maximum, which can be carried on top of a car or in an van or pickup truck and can be unloaded by not more than two people) can be launched from either the State Park or the Washington Boat Launch after they have been inspected for environmental fitness to enter the Lake. Such inspections are presently performed at the Washington Boat Launch during its scheduled hours (see below). Dowler’s Garage on Route 202 (south of Route 45) can do car-top inspections if the Washington Boat Launch is closed. Operators of car-top boats should always inspect their boats carefully for any plant or animal material from other lakes or rivers before launching, and dispose of any such material AWAY from the lake.
All other motorboats, including jet skis, must be launched from Washington Boat ramp, which incorporates an inspection for dangerous plants or other material with each launch. The ramp is located on Route 45 near the Washington town beach at the southeast corner of the Lake.
Motorboat Speed Restriction
The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) has adopted the following regulation, effective December 12, 2014, for a portion of the State Park Arm of the Lake:
"No person shall operate a motorboat on Lake Waramaug... in excess of slow-no-wake from May 15 through September 15, inclusive, in the cove adjacent to Lake Waramaug State Park in the area beginning at the northernmost tip of the cove, bounded by the shorelines, and southerly from said northernmost tip for a distance of 1,300 feet."
"Slow-no-wake" generally means that a motorboat shall neither attain a speed in excess of six miles an hour nor produce more than a minimum wake. The area affected by this regulation will be marked by floating buoys. Jet-skis and other motorized personal watercraft are also subject to this restriction.
The safety concern addressed by this regulation (the concentration of various competing users ranging from swimmers and the operators of canoes and kayaks to motorboats towing water skiers in this small and narrow congested area) was initially brought to the attention of the DEEP Boating Division by the on-lake enforcement officers of the Lake Waramaug Authority followed, in accordance with statutory procedure, by a request for DEEP remedial action by the Warren Town Meeting. The DEEP, after a lengthy and detailed assessment, conducted a public hearing review and public comment process, and proposed a regulation. After revision in response to public comment, and further review and modification by the Regulation Review Committee of the State Legislature, the above regulation was adopted.
In addition to this specific regulation, Connecticut law generally requires that no person shall operate a motorboat at a speed in excess of "slow-no-wake" within 100 feet of shore, a dock, pier, float or anchored/moored vessel, unless taking off or landing a water skier. For jet-ski personal watercraft, the distance is 200 feet. In other areas a boat must be operated so that it will not endanger others and must be able to stop safely within the clear distance ahead.
Any concerns about water safety should be directed to the Lake Waramaug Authority police boat on patrol or Resident State Trooper Stephen Sordi at 860-868-9671.
All Boaters must follow Connecticut laws and regulations. Boating information can be found in the Connecticut Boater's Guide which is also available from the Town Clerk. A "Safe Boating Certificate" is required in order to operate a motorized recreational vessel and must be on board at all times during operation. In order to obtain a Safe Boating Certificate, an individual must successfully complete an approved basic boating course or receive a passing grade on an equivalency examination administered by the DEP. Similar requirements exist for operating a Personal Watercraft (i.e. Jetski). Certification and registration information can be found on the CT Department of Energy & Environmental Protection website.
Connecticut law requires that all boats with motors regardless of size and sailboats powered by sail alone, 19 1/2 feet or longer, be registered and numbered before launching. If you purchase a boat that is currently registered, you are responsible for seeing that it is registered in your name. All vessels must be registered with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Evidence of ownership must be submitted at the time of registration. Upon receipt of the application and fee, an identification number will be assigned and a certificate of number/registration will be issued along with two validation decals. The registration will be valid until April 30 of the following year. Connecticut vessel numbers stay with the boat as long as it is registered in the state. Normally you will receive a registration renewal from DMV early in the calendar year. If you do not register the boat for a year, you will not receive another renewal notice and you must go to a DMV office to renew your registration.
Please practice safe and courteous boating. Connecticut boating regulations include:
- Operation of a motorboat at a speed in excess of "slow-no-wake" is illegal within 100 feet of shore, a dock, pier, float, or anchored or moored vessel unless taking off or landing a water-skier. For jet ski personal watercraft, these restrictions apply within a distance of 200 feet. "Slow-no-wake" speed is generally limited to 6 MPH.
- Operate vessel only at minimum speed necessary to maintain steerage when within 100 feet of a marked swimming area.
- Ensure you have a Personal Flotation Device (PFD) of the appropriate size for every person on board; and every child under 12 is wearing a PFD.
- A spotter, who is at least 12 years old, is required when towing waterskiers, tubes, wakeboards, etc.
- To maximize enjoyment of the Lake for everyone please be aware of swimmers, kayakers, canoers and rowers and try to maintain distance and minimize your wake which may destabilize them.
- Be aware of swimmers far from shore who may be difficult to see.
- Minimize noise on the Lake in the early morning and at night.
- Violators may be fined.
LOST & FOUND
Property found floating on the lake or which finds a temporary home on a resident's lakefront is a continuing water safety issue. To aid in resolving this problem, the Town of Washington ("Town"), the Lake Waramaug Authority ("Authority") and the Lake Waramaug Association ("Association") have agreed upon the following trial program of notification and removal:
The Town and the Authority have established the following email address: email@example.com
If you FIND property on the lake or it has floated to your shoreline, email a description of that property, along with your location and contact information. Please put "Found" in the subject line. Either retain the property or bring it to the Washington Boat Launch ("Launch"). If the property is too large or heavy for you to handle, include that information in your email or call Washington Resident State Trooper Matthew Costella at 860-868-9671 to seek instructions for possible assistance from the Authority's Marine Patrol Boat. (The Marine Patrol will assist in its discretion where possible, but only where its boat may operate safely.)
Articles floating on the lake will also be collected by the Marine Patrol Boat and will be brought to the Launch and placed in an area designated by the Town for such use. The Town will permit such property to remain at the Launch for at least ten days (two weekends), after which the Town may dispose of such property.
If you have LOST property, send a description of the property and your contact information to the email address above. Please put "Lost" in the subject line. Where possible, lost and found notices will be posted here, matched and the parties notified.
And Please Note That:
- Property owners remain responsible for the return of articles to their property or the disposal of large articles (dock and float sections, etc.) found in the lake or at the shore.
- Identifying information (name, address telephone number, etc.) on property in the lake or on the nearby shore (docks, floats, boats, boating equipment, skis, inflatables, furniture, etc.) will greatly simplify this procedure.
- The trial period for these arrangements is the current boating season, when the Marine Patrol is in operation and the Launch is open.
SWIMMING AND LAKESIDE BEACHES
Swimmers should remain close to shore and in marked swimming areas. It can be very difficult for motor boat drivers to spot swimmers! If you plan to swim further from shore, have a spotter boat accompany you to divert other watercraft.
Access to the Lake is available at the Lake Waramaug State Park at the northwest end of the Lake, and, for residents of Warren and Washington with the appropriate permits, at their respective Town Beaches. These locations provide opportunities for swimming, picnics, non-motorized boating.
Warren Town Beach
The beach is open Memorial Day through Labor Day, 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. to Warren residents, taxpayers, and their guests. Vehicles owned or leased by property owners or renters are eligible for beach stickers which must be affixed to the windshield side of the rearview mirror. Stickers will be checked by gate attendant. Cars without stickers will not be admitted! No Exceptions!
Warren Parks and Recreation offers a full set of rules about the use of the beach, and how to obtain a vehicle beach sticker.
Washington Town Beach
The beach is available to all residents and taxpayers of the Town of Washington. Permits allow use of the picnic and swim area, and are available at the beach. For more information contact Washington Parks and Recreation 860-868-1519.
Illustrations by Joseph Tomelleri from the State Angler's Guide
A license is needed for anglers over age 16, and can be purchased at all Town Halls and selected vendors. The CT DEP's website lists license type, fees and where to obtain them. The DEP also offers extensive information about fishing in Connecticut in their "Connecticut Angler's Guide."
Species of fish found in Lake Waramaug include large mouth bass, small mouth bass, chain pickerel, yellow perch, brown bullhead and sunfish.
Follow DEP guidelines for being a responsible angler:
The DEP also specifies responsibilities of anglers in regards to aquatic nuisance species. An increasing number of maging aquatic species are invading waters of Connecticut. You can help prevent the spread of problem species by following these simple suggestions before leaving a boat launch:
- Respect private property
- Do not cast onto docks or into swim areas (when in doubt cast elsewhere)
- Ask permission before fishing from shore or wading on private property
- Don't litter, don't pollute
- Keep your boat & motor properly maintianed
- Retrieve all lures & gear
- Don't release live bait
- Leave your fishing area cleaner than you found it!
- Be a safe boater
- Obey boating regulations and check your safety gear frequently
- Be a good neighbor
- Treat fellow anglers, other recreational users and property owners with courtesy
- Always be willing to share both the resource and your knowledge
- Completely drain all water from the boat.
- Inspect your boat trailer and equipment: remove and discard all aquatic plants and animals you may have picked up while on the water.
- Do not dump your bait bucket or release live bait. Avoid introducing unwanted plants and animals. Unless your bait was obtained on site, dispose of it in a suitable trash container.
- Do not transport fish, other animals or plants between water bodies. Release caught fish, other animals and plants only into the waters from which they came.
Overnight camping is available at Lake Waramaug State Park. Over 70 wooded and open sites overlook the Lake, with concession, dumping station, bathrooms and showers. No pets allowed. Campsite reservations are required; see the State website for rates. The campground office is located at 30 Lake Waramaug Road, New Preston (northwest corner of the Lake). Call 860-868-0220 (seasonal number) or 860-424-3200.
- Canoe and kayak rentals are available. Follow canoe & kayak safety rules.
- Lake Waramaug is a popular circuit for bicyclists. Roads around the lake are narrow, so when biking, remain in single file to maximize safety for all road users. Parking is available at the State Park or with appropriate permits, at the town beaches.
- In addition to walking along the Lake, one can hike to the Pinnacle and enjoy a breathtaking view of Lake Waramaug from the Macricostas Preserve, part of the Steep Rock Association. Parking is on Christian Street, off Route 202. A map is posted at the trailhead, and maps can be purchased from the Steep Rock office; call 868-9131 for more information.
- For information about organized sports and recreation activities for adults and children, check out the Washington Parks & Recreation schedule.
- The Hopkins Vineyard Triathalon at Lake Waramaug and other competitive events are held throughout the year around and on the lake.
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