The Westmorland Gazette this week (16.10.14) claims there is a ‘speed battle’ on Windermere as ‘fresh calls have been made for the 10 mph nautical speed limit to be lifted’ and others want water-skiers banned completely. Although it doesn’t say who these ‘others’ are.
The rise in the numbers of open water swimmers using Windermere outside organised events does mean that boaters have more hazards to look out for, but this should be in addition surely, to the concern and courtesy the power-boat users already have for kayakers and canonist’s that have used the lake for many years.
Swimmers using the lake do have a responsibility to increase the safety of themselves and others by following some very simple guidelines as outlined in the swim safe code guide. Using a swim tow float, wearing a bright swim hat, using a kayak escort and swimming along the shore can help improve the safety of the swimmers.
Everyone has a right of navigation on Windermere so you cannot ban a group of users from any particular area and despite the 10 mph by-law powerboat users continue to flaunt the rule.
The issue of a speed battle was not raised at the recent lake users forum meeting which seems a bit strange so its not clear where this latest ‘speed battle’ has risen from and what a pity if the channels in place to communicate are not being used.
Windermere offers world-class swimming, its a big lake with so much to offer, and much shoreline to explore, its iconic too and therefore its not surprising that it draws swimmers, canoeists and other users into its waters. Can we all get on safely in Windermere? What do you think? Have you had a close encounter with a power boater or water skier?