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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Lake Coeur d’Alene boating enthusiasts welcome kick off to summer over Memorial Day weekend

A kayaker makes his way toward boat traffic on Liberty Lake on Thursday. The unusually warm weather has inspired folks to launch their watercraft early this year.  (Kathy Plonka/The Spokesman-Review)

It’s almost June, which means the calm waters of Lake Coeur d’Alene are starting to become choppy with an influx of boats and jet skis powering across them.

Few boaters ventured into the lake Saturday as threatening clouds lurked above, but those who did said the weather and water were great.

Those clouds cleared by Memorial Day, offering a nearly perfect outing on the popular Idaho lake.

“It’s been just a nice, relaxing day,” Larry Eggleston said Saturday.

Eggleston cruised across the lake with his wife and daughter before docking downtown by Tubbs Hill and the Buoy Bar and Grill.

The family came to pick up their race packets for the Coeur d’Alene Marathon, which was Sunday. Eggleston said he and his daughter, Taylor, planned to run the half-marathon portion of the event.

Eggleston said they put their MasterCraft in the lake more than a week ago and enjoyed their first trip of the year from their lake cabin.

“Not too many boats out, so it’s not too rough,” Eggleston said.

Sean Krueger and his family rented a boat and, besides a little rain, said the outing was “gorgeous.”

He, his wife and their children came from Western Washington to visit family for Memorial Day weekend.

“One of those places you don’t want to miss out when you have the opportunity to go back,” Krueger said of Coeur d’Alene.

Krueger and his family even swam in the lake, which he said was warm compared to lakes in Western Washington. Eggleston said his boat measured the water temperature at 64 degrees Saturday afternoon.

The Coeur d’Alene Fire Department warned that although it’s warm outside, lakes and rivers are still cold and many are running higher and faster than normal. A news release from the fire department Friday said Lake Coeur d’Alene’s water temperature was 59 degrees.

“The air might be warm, but the water’s still cold,” said Craig Etherton, deputy fire marshal and public information officer at the fire department.

The release, which included Memorial Day weekend safety tips, said those enjoying the waterways should wear a life jacket and let someone know where they are going if they are boating or paddling alone.

For those that do require the department’s assistance on the lake, response times should be improved thanks to a new marine facility that houses the fire boat downtown near Tubbs Hill, Etherton said.

Fire Boat 3 will be able to respond quickly to Tubbs Hill fires and injuries on the hill and along the hill’s shoreline. Etherton said the boat also responds to other events, like boating accidents and water rescues.