ELLICOTT – With many planning to take to the open water on Chautauqua Lake this Independence Day Weekend, work is underway to cut down nuisance lake weeds.
Each summer, the Chautauqua Lake Association leads the mass undertaking to make boating more enjoyable for locals and visitors alike.
“The Chautauqua Lake Association maintains a fleet of six aquatic plant harvesters, four large dump trucks, three small dump trucks, four work barges, four skimmers,” explains Doug Conroe, the Executive Director of the Chautauqua Lake Association.
All of this manpower helps cut down on nuisance lake weeds, which can cause trouble for boaters.
“The harvesters harvest the weeds. The blades cut the weeds and the conveyors on the machines harvest the weeds so they’re not floating away in the lake,” said Conroe. “Then the conveyors take them up onto the machine and the machine has a loading capacity. When the machine is full, the harvester joins with what we call a transport vessel that comes in and connects and the harvester then offloads onto that.”
Without the upkeep, overgrowth can be a big problem for boaters whose propellers easily get jammed up in thick weed patches.
“You can feel that drag, it’s out of balance so you have that vibration because you have some weeds on the blade of the prop. You’ll feel it,” said President of Lawson Boat and Motor Andrew Finson.
Continuing to run a boat that’s weeded up, could result in costly repairs.
“If you continue to run the boat with no water flowing through the intake, it’s gonna dry up around the impeller which is the water pump which circulates the water through the engine, and if you don’t have that water in there it’s gonna overheat and cause a rubber impeller. That impeller will break off and be rendered useless,” Finson said.
Plus, with parts shortages impacting Marinas nationwide, many on the lake agree that maintaining a healthy lake is imperative to avoid damages that otherwise could be preventable.
“People are here because of the lake. We need to remember that in order to stay here, we need to have a clean, healthy lake,” said Conroe.
Demand this summer is at an all time high, with Lawson Boat and Motor’s boat rentals completely booked for the holiday weekend. However, those looking to take to the water in a non-motorized craft still have options. To learn more, check out lawsonboatandmotor.com.