Park, Recreation Advisory Board committee to consider kayak request

Ponca City Now - August 19, 2016 12:28 pm

The Ponca City Park and Recreation Advisory Board received an inquiry from resident Aimee Turner Thursday night about operating her inflatable kayak on Lake Ponca.

Jim Sindelar, director of the Park and Recreation Department, said that the vessel is not legal at this time, because there is not a category of permit for it yet.

All vessels using the lake are required to be registered with the city and to have a permit issued by the department.

Because inflatable kayaks are fairly new, a permit category hasn't been established for these vessels yet.

The Lake Committee of the advisory board has been discussing whether to permit the vessels and how best to allow their use while considering safety first.

Bill Wentroth, a member of the Lake Committee, said he has been looking into these and other vessels that may become popular.

"There are ways of distinguishing boats from toys," he said Thursday night. "I've looked at the rating by the NMNA certification for inflatables."

He said he had called the Coast Guard to get an opinion and was told they would only certify those built over an internal structure, which would not apply to an inflatable kayak.

He said there were two points he learned in his investigation: First, there must be a hull identification number. The other key is a display of capacity limit, giving the total gross weight and a limit on the weight and number of persons allowed.

The matter was referred back to the Lake Committee to study the issue further and bring a recommendation to the board at its September meeting.

After the meeting adjourned, members of the board went outside in front of City Hall to see Turner's kayak, which she had in her vehicle. She put it on the sidewalk for the board members to inspect and ask questions about, and they found the NMNA certification notice on the front of the vessel with a hull identification number and the capacity limit display.

The Lake Committee also will consider recommendations by Wentroth on changes to the fishing limits on size and bag limits at Lake Ponca. Wentroth is an Oklahoma Wildlife Fish Biologist and presented the proposed changes to bring Lake Ponca into compliance with new state regulations.


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