Preparation for Rising Lake Levels
While all the water is certainly welcome, its rapid inflow during the Upper Colorado River Basin’s runoff season may cause lake levels to rise by 2 feet or more per day, for a period of time, in May and June. And although it’s impossible for us to know today how much the lake will rise, and how extreme the daily fluctuations may be, there are several things to consider and plan for if you’re heading out before the 4th of July.
With rapidly rising lake levels (6” + per day) our recommendation may result in you choosing a location that’s different than you’d normally select, but balancing a number of considerations including safety, site longevity, and beauty.
Specifically, you’ll want to moor in locations allowing your anchors to be placed far enough above (not from) the water line, based on how quickly the water is rising during your stay. For example, if the lake is rising 1 foot a day and your trip lasts for a week, you want to overnight in a location accommodating at least 7 feet of lake rise. 2 feet per day requires 14 feet.
Under these conditions, beaches with gentle rises are not suitable anchoring locations for multi-day stays. Beaches with steep rises or with high shelves, on which to position anchors, will work best. Depending on how quickly the lake levels are rising during your trip, anchoring options may be limited.
If your preference leans towards site location vs. site longevity, there are options you can consider. These include:
Make sure to familiarize yourself with, and to train your crew on, the key aspects of houseboat anchoring. Also, ensure you have enough crew to successfully monitor and maintain your anchorage using the guidelines listed below.
Check Houseboat’s Bow Position Frequently Throughout Day
Your houseboat’s bow position will change often as it is continually pushed up-beach by the rising lake.
The position is undesirable and unsafe if the bow is:
Reposition Houseboat’s Bow As Needed Throughout Day
To properly re-seat your houseboat’s bow:
Maintain Anchor Lines As Needed Throughout Day
A rising lake causes anchor lines to loosen. Depending on the rate of rise, this can happen very quickly. Movement of the houseboat due to a combination of winds and slack anchor lines allows dynamic forces to be placed on anchors. Dynamic forces, when high enough, cause moorings to fail. Keeping anchor lines properly maintained consists of continually monitoring, adjusting, and preserving the following anchor line conditions.