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Civic Service

USPS Triangle LogoThe third leg of our three-part mission is civic service. In addition to the public boating course we teach, members of Lake Murray Power Squadron are responsible for maintaining the reference light system on our home waters of Lake Murray. We also check and report the status of all shoal markers on the lake annually to the S.C. Department of Natural Resources. 

Among our members we also have certified inspectors who participate as part of a national Vessel Safety Check Program. 

Another important activity is our cooperative charting program in which we report corrections and additions to navigational charts and other publications of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Lake Murray Reference Lights

Members of Lake Murray Power Squadron are responsible for maintaining the reference light system on our home waters of Lake Murray. If you spot a light not functioning or otherwise damaged, please email us at ReferenceLights@lmpsonline.org.

For details on where to find Lake Murray Reference Lights  and how to use them to maneuver on the lake at night, check out our GPS coordinates and flash sequence description for the reference lights.

Vessel Safety Check Program

Members of Lake Murray Power Squadron participate as certified inspectors in a nationwide Vessel Safety Check Program, offered by the United States Power Squadrons and the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. 

This effective, proactive and preventative safety program is unique to the recreational boating community. It insures that key marine safety equipment is present, is within prescribed functional limits, and is compliant with federal, state, and local regulations. 

The Vessel Safety Check Program provides the certified inspectors an opportunity to discuss with the recreational boater, the purpose of the marine safety equipment, to clarify various federal, state, and local regulations, to emphasize specific safety procedures and practices, to answer any boating related questions and to encourage additional boater education.

For more information about inspections conducted by Lake Murray Power Squadron, visit our Vessel Safety Check webpage.

Cooperative Charting

"Cooperative Charting" refers to an agreement between the United States Power Squadrons and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), an agency of the US Department of Commerce. The agreement was first executed in 1963 and revised in January 1971 and again in 1983. The current agreement is "...to produce accurate and up-to-date nautical and aeronautical charts and related products and to preserve geodetic control stations in the National Geodetic Reference System (NGRS) through the use of well-trained volunteer observers." 

The program is aimed at providing NOS (National Ocean Service, a NOAA division) with pertinent information about current conditions in waters charted by NOAA, especially those which are frequented by recreational boaters. NOAA is limited in providing their own hydrographic information because of budgetary constraints imposed by Congress in recent years. More cooperative charting (CoCh) information can be found at the members section of www.usps.org

Lake Murray Power Squadron participates in four CoCh projects as part of our civic service mission: Lake Murray reference light maintenance, Lake Murray shoal marker inspection, NOAA Chart 11527 Upper Cooper River Adopt-A-Chart and less often in geodetic mark recovery. 

Every month on a moonlit night Lake Murray Power Squadron members can be found out on their boats inspecting the 33 reference lights for proper operation. One inspection during the summer is conducted as part of the Lake Murray moonlight cruise boating activity. Each fall members perform a detailed maintenance on every light that includes burned out lamp replacement, lens cleaning, checking alignment, servicing the solar unit battery and solar panel and clearing vegetation growth. Sometimes the colored lens needs replacing because of target practice or other vandalism. Servicing all the lights takes a few days and requires travel by both land and water. Lake Murray Power Squadron also purchases and maintains a stock of the special maintenance items. 

Thank you to the members who volunteer, providing this valuable service in keeping the Lake Murray reference lights operational as night time navigation aids. Any member interested in helping or learning about maintaining the reference lights is encouraged to contact us at ReferenceLights@lmpsonline.org.

Although Lake Murray is not a NOAA or Corp of Engineers charted lake we still report each reference light activity to the District 26 Cooperative Charting Chairman on NOAA Form 77-4. LMPS receives credit for each report toward a year end evaluation of our CoCh activities. USPS grades each squadron on both the quantity and quality of the reports submitted. 

Lake Murray Power Squadron members also inspect shoal markers on the lake, reporting damaged, missing, mislabeled, duplicate numbers or off-station markers to S.C. Department of Natural Resources, which is responsible for maintaining the shoal markers. These reports also are submitted to USPS for CoCH credit and to the Lake Murray Association, Fishunt Maps and our Lake Murray Flotilla friends at the USCG Auxiliary.

Adopt-A-Chart is a CoCH program where one or more NOAA nautical charts are "adopted" by a squadron to survey and report corrections to NOS. LMPS adopted Chart 11527, the Upper Cooper River, and annually surveys 30 sections of the 22-mile charted area, citing the condition of 74 charted navigational aids and other chart features in reports submitted to NOS that are published in the the Local Notice to Mariners (LNM) publications. Needed corrections revealed through these reports then appear in the next edition of the chart.

Another USPS sponsored CoCh project is the recovery of National Geodetic Survey (NGS) geodetic control marks, those small brass discs seen embedded in concrete monuments that provide the base geographic framework for mapping and charting, boundaries and property lines, and setting precise positions of space craft and satellites. LMPS has not participated every year but perhaps a Saturday Search Party can be planned this year once there is an outbreak of cooler weather. 

CoCh is indeed active at LMPS. It is an opportunity and obligation to help keep our boating waterways safe and well charted. But the best part is just another reason to go boating.

Updated 03 March 2021
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