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Light The Buoys Campaign

lighted SNW buoy (photo courtesy Amy Fleming)

Program Update: As of July 4 we have received 92 donations totaling $10,180! We have added 36 lights and have another 28 on order.

As one of the primary efforts in support of our mission to promote boating and water safety on the Whitefish Chain the WCYC provides and maintains over 100 navigation and safety buoys. Placed on the lakes at the direction of the Crow Wing County Sheriff's Water Patrol, these buoys are more correctly referred to as ATONs (aids to navigation) and are regulated by US Coast Guard and comply with the international standard IALA-B. On the Whitefish Chain they include:

Red/Green buoy pairs which mark the nine primary channels between our lakes and six other restricted navigation areas (24 pair total). None of these are currently lighted.
Slow/No Wake buoys (23 buoys) control speed in these channels. Many of them are currently equipped with solar powered lights.
Buoys also mark Danger and Speed Control areas at nine other locations (21 buoys).

As traffic on The Chain has increased the need to better mark these areas, specifically at night, has been identified as a need by several constituencies. The cost of adding the appropriate lights and upgrading buoys to accept them where needed will be well in excess of $20,000. The WCYC Board discussed the situation at its 2018 fall board meeting and voted to initiate a fund raising campaign whereby reserve funds will be used to match individual contributions up to a total of $10,000.

The plan is to install solar powered lights (white) on the slow/no wake buoys that are not currently lighted and all of the primary channel markers this summer (2019). As of July 4 we have received 92 donations totaling $10,180. The objective is to have all buoys in the five highest traffic channels completely lighted by July 6 for the Crosslake Fireworks Show.

If you would like to help with this capital campaign you can donate now.