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Light The Buoys Campaign

lighted SNW buoy (photo courtesy Amy Fleming)

Program Update: As of September 1, we have received 100 donations totaling $16,960. With the $15,000 match from the club we have exceeded our goal of $30,000 to purchase and install lights on 'all' of the navigation buoys on the Chain. A complete inventory of buoy condition and lights will be conducted as the buoys are removed in the fall and equipment to complete the project will be ordered over the winter and installed next spring.

As one of our primary efforts to promote boating and water safety on the Whitefish Chain, 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 (27 pairs).  As of January, 2019, none of these buoys were lighted.
Slow/No Wake buoys (49 buoys) control speed in these channels. Many of them are currently equipped with white solar-powered lights.
Buoys also mark Danger and Speed Control areas at nine other locations (12 buoys).

As traffic on The Chain has increased, the need to better mark these areas, specifically at night, has been identified by several constituencies
as an important objective.  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 this situation at its 2018 fall board meeting and voted to initiate a fundraising campaign whereby the club's reserve funds would be used to match individual contributions up to a total of $10,000.  In 2019 that matching amount was increased to $15,000.

The plan is to install solar powered lights (white) on the slow/no wake buoys that are not currently lighted and (red/green) on all of the primary channel markers this summer (2019). Additional requirements will be determined during the fall 2019 removal.

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

On behalf of  visitors and residents alike, Thank You!