2012 boat count shows slight dip in numbers on the lakes
Working together, the Water Safety Patrol and the Geneva Lake Environmental Agency conducted the annual Geneva Lake Boat Count on August 13. All boats docked, moored, on shore stations or in off lake storage with access to the lake are counted to document the number of boats with access to Geneva Lake. The boats counted are divided into 4 categories, motorboat, sailboat, personal watercraft, and other. Personal watercraft includes jet skies and wave runners. Other includes kayaks, canoes, rowboats and miscellaneous. Every attempt is made to conduct the boat count on a cool, wet day, to ensure most boats are docked. This year the count was conducted on a cool, overcast day with light rain periodically during the count.
The total number of boats counted for 2012 was 5,185 compared to 5,231 in 2011; less than one percent decrease. Motorboats again accounted for the largest type of boats at 3,233 boats or 62 percent of all boats. The “other” category had a count of 861 compared to 874 in 2011. Sailboats had a count of 424 compared to 395 in 2011. Although there were slightly more sailboats counted in 2012 than in 2011, sailboats numbers show a general decrease over the years.
The village of Fontana had the greatest number of boats with 1,956 total boats. This includes 503 boats in off lake storage. The village of Williams Bay had the second most boats with 1,134 boats including 156 boats in off lake storage. Linn South Shore had the third greatest number of boats at 1,044, followed by the city of Lake Geneva at 594 boats and Linn North Shore at 457 boats. Only the villages of Williams Bay and Fontana have off-lake storage that was included in this count.
The 2012 counts included a total of 659 boats in off-lake storage. This represents slightly more than 11 percent of the boats counted. Off-lake storage was not completely included in some of the early counts prior to 2007, but the category appears to be a component of the count that is gaining in popularity.
Geneva Lake has a total of 112,854 ft of shoreline. Forty-eight percent of the Geneva Lake’s shoreline is in the town of Linn. Fontana is has 19 percent and Williams Bay and Lake Geneva have 17 percent and 16 percent, respectively.
Boat density can be measured by feet of shoreline per boat. When evaluated with the inclusion of the off lake boats that have access to the lake it gives an idea of potential boating pressure. When evaluated with just the boats docked on the lake it represents more of an aesthetic evaluation, yet can still give an idea of potential boating pressure. The 2012 lake wide density of boats on Geneva Lake, including the off water storage, is one boat every 21.8 feet. That number changes to one boat every 24.9 feet when off water storage is excluded.
Geneva Lake is renowned for its clear water and recreational boating. Safe and respectful boating is vital if Geneva Lake is to remain one of the best recreational boating lakes in Wisconsin.