Logan Martin Lake group installs solar-powered buoys to improve safety on water

Local News

PELL CITY, Ala (WIAT) — With more boat traffic expected on Alabama waterways during the upcoming holiday period, one St. Clair County organization is taking steps to make Logan Martin Lake safer for families.

Over the past weekend, a total of 11 new solar-powered buoys were installed by the Logan Martin Lake Protection Association.

“We set a goal for 100 buoys by the end of 2021.We’ve reached the number 53 at this particular point,” said Bud Kitchin, the Vice President for Logan Martin Lake Protection Association.

Neighbors on the lake report old buoys that are difficult for boats to see, especially when the sun sets.

“They can’t see the underwater obstacle and a depth finder doesn’t tell you soon enough that you are coming up on shallow ground,” Kitchin continued. “If you hit a sandbar, all the folks on the boat may be ejected off into the water.”

The LMLPA is made up of about 350 to 370 members who aim to make the lake cleaner and safer. President Dee Parsons said the group did not want to see a boating accident over the summer.

“We have seen enough of this that we felt like we should do something about it,” said Parsons.

Leaders said the idea has been in the works for several years.

“In 2019, Logan Martin Lake Protection Association saw that buoys on the lake were deteriorating and worn and not in the right places, some had actually floated off, and the fact the state was struggling to get the funds to put new buoys out on the lake,” said Kitchin.

The new buoys are equipped with a blinking light that can be seen from about 2 to 3 miles away, Kitchin said.

The group works with the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency’s marine police to identify areas of need.

Several devices were placed near Pell City’s popular Lakeside Park, expected to be busy during peak times this summer.

“Even what we call the veteran boaters still find shallow places that they did not know about, so the hazard buoys are probably the most instrumental in us keeping people safe,” said David Carboni, with the LMLPA.

Buoys cost around $500 each to install. Some money for the project is being raised at the organization’s car and truck show in September. Neighbors and businesses can donate the cost of a buoy and have it sponsored on the organization’s website as the area aims to continue to grow with safety in mind.

“We are seeing a resurgence of renovations on the lake, new boat houses on the lake, new residents on the lake, so we are seeing Lake Logan Martin grow,” said Carboni.

People on Logan Martin Lake expect a busy summer and leaders want to do what they can to prevent an accident on the water.

“Anybody that wants to come to our lake, just know it is a little safer, a little cleaner,” said Parsons.

To learn more about the LMLPA and buoy program, click here.

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