BALLSTON LAKE: New dock rules set sail

Moorings, including floats, boats or seaplanes tied by rope or cable, cannot be any closer than 20-feet to the property line extended into the water. Each waterfront lot is limited to one mooring, and cables must be clearly marked or sunk to the lake bottom to prevent navigational hazards.

Boathouses are allowed on lake property only when used to store boats and related equipment. That means no eating, sleeping, or bathroom facilities. There are new regulations for sizes of boathouses, and floating versions are not allowed. Marinas are completely banned from the lake, and for those who wish to rent out fishing boats, they must be small vessels with a limit of five boats per dock. Any public boat launches must conform to the state Department of Environmental Conservation and the Army Corps of Engineer regulations.

Ballston Lake is classified a New York State Navigable body of water, and that means the town doesn't need to regulate speed, but the state does. Speed limits are 5 miles per hour within 100 feet of shore, a rule Herman said most boaters adhere to.

Motorized boats are permitted, but Herman said the character of the lake doesn't attract water thrill-seekers.

"We don't have crazy incidents here; it's just not large enough for big boats," said Herman. "Sure, there are the hot Sunday afternoons when there are lots of boats out, and you probably don't want to take out the kayak, but that's about as active as it gets."

Ann and David Pierce have lived on the lake for several years, and as a member of the improvement association, Ann Pierce said she is relieved to see the new rules in place.

"We need to be pro-active," said Pierce. "The lake is long and narrow, and there are things we worry about, like the docks and now the weeds. I've gone to a conference on lake ecology to learn what more we can do."

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