Motorized boats are popular on Lake Anna, but there is still room for those who want to experience the lake from a canoe, kayak or paddleboard.
Rebecca Murphy, owner of R&R Rentals Lake Anna at Rocky Branch Marina and Campground, has lived on the lake her entire life and grew up swimming and boating. Her family has owned the campground property for more than 100 years.
The property is surrounded by a no-wake zone with a diameter of approximately 1.5 miles. Murphy decided to open the rental shop to give families (and their furry companions) a fun, safe way to enjoy the lake and spend quality time together.
“You feel like you’re in another world when you’re out there relaxing and seeing the wildlife,” Murphy said. “It just puts a whole new perspective on everything.”
On a canoe, kayak or paddleboard, visitors are more likely to see the wildlife living at the edges of and in the lake that might get spooked by the sound of motors, including eagles, herring, osprey, and painted turtles.
“There’s an area [on the property] where a tree has fallen, and near the water’s edge there are about 30 painted turtles,” Murphy said. “You can kayak up to them and see them one-by-one jumping off [into the water].”
While boating on the lake can be peaceful, there is always risk involved. Because of this, Murphy takes lake safety very seriously. Before letting a customer go onto the water, she makes sure they have a brightly colored personal flotation device that fits properly and that they know their do’s and don’ts. She tells people they should check the weather before heading out on the water, and not to mix drinking alcohol and paddling.
“If someone has a rental that they’re keeping for a week, and it’s calling for bad weather, I send messages to let them know to not go out,” Murphy said.
She also makes sure people know about popular landmarks so they don’t get lost and recommends they stay hydrated and wear sunscreen.
People who rent from Murphy are allowed to paddle outside of the no-wake zone, but she advises them to avoid going into the center of the lake where there might be a lot of motorized boats.
“If you go in the center of the lake and you have boats coming from both directions, it can cause wakes to fill up your kayak,” she said. “Plus, if you were to tip over, it would be much easier for you to get back in if you were closer to the water’s edge.”
Murphy is glad that in her six years of operation, all of her customers have enjoyed Lake Anna safely and that she’s happy she’s able to share her love of the lake with visitors.
“[Boating] frees your mind of all your negative thoughts and nature just really helps you refocus your mind and recharge,” Murphy said.