Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Please take a moment to review this list of frequently asked questions. If you cannot find the answer you're looking for, please don't hesitate to contact us. Links to our email are provided at the bottom of this and every other page of this website.

Who Can Join?

Any dues paying resident of the Lake Barcroft community is welcome to join the Lake Barcroft Boat Sharing Program.

How Do I Use the Boat Sharing Program?

Once you sign the member agreement, you'll be given instructions to download and use the Master Lock app on your cell phone to unlock the LBBS smart padlocks. All adult members of your household should sign a member agreement so they can have their own access to the padlocks. If you have members of your household who don't need padlock access but would like to ride in a shared boat, they should sign the guest waiver.

Go to the beach. LBBS boats are docked at Beaches 2, 3, and 4; chances are many boats will be available at each of these three beaches. At the beach, you will unlock the padlock corresponding to the boat you choose using the Master Lock cell phone app and remove the boat and its paddle(s). You should bring your own life vest(s), but there are some available for guests at Beach 4.

Enjoy the boat on the lake and then return the boat and its paddles to the boat rack space when you are finished.

The boats in the middle, with the orange paddle locks, are some of the shared boats stored at beach 4.

What Boats Are Available Where?

You can see the boats that are currently available in the LBBS program in the table below. Paddles are locked with the boats.

Lake Barcroft Boat Sharing 2024 Fleet.xlsx

How Can I Be Sure Boats Will Be Available When I Want Them?

The text below describes how to use the Master Lock app to determine what boats are available. This text refers to two photos (Figures A and B) which can be found directly to the right of the text. Underneath this text explanation, you can also find a video walking you through the process of using the Master Lock app to check the availability of the fleet.

If you want to know if a particular boat is available, you can do that with the Master Lock cell phone app. First, open the app. Find the lock for the boat that interests you and tap on that listing.

For example, let's say you're interested in 4YK2 - a youth kayak at Beach 2. In Figure A, you can see the name and device ID (4YK2) at the bottom of the screen, as it appears in the Master Lock app.

When you tap on the 4YK2 button, you'll see a screen full of data about that lock - as shown in Figure B.

Scroll down, and just past the location map you’ll see the last time the lock was opened. If the lock has not been opened today, then the boat should be available. Boats are not allowed out overnight.

The Master Lock app maintains a record of when each lock was last unlocked, but not of when it was re-locked. In Figure B, you can see that the lock was last opened May 19. It’s now May 21, so it hasn’t been unlocked today and must be available. If the lock had been unlocked today at, say, 10AM, and it’s now 3PM, there’s a good chance the boat will be available, since it’s unlikely that someone would keep it out for 5 hours.

How can 50 boats satisfy 200 families? The answer is simple: We don’t all go boating at the same time. There are about 840 boats stored at our beaches, but it is extremely rare that more than 30 are in use simultaneously. With 20 boats shared by 40 families, the odds are small that the kind of boat you want will not be available when you want it. And the bigger the boat fleet, the better it gets. With 50 boats, 200 families would likely be able to find the boats they want when they want them. And this includes times when they want to bring guests, and use multiple kayaks or canoes or paddle boards. The boat sharing program uses “smart” padlocks that track how many boats are in use at any time, so we can adjust the size and composition of the fleet to meet the desires of our members.

In general, if you want to see if a boat is available - go to the beach. Chances are, there will be lots of boats available for your use.

The video below shows how to use the Master Lock app to check the availability of the boats in the fleet: 

Figure A (on the left); Figure B (on the right)

How Do I Open the Padlocks?

The text below describing how to open the padlocks refers to a series of seven photos (Figures C-I) which can be found directly underneath the text. Underneath those photos, you can also find a video walking you through the process of unlocking the padlocks.

To unlock a padlock, open the Master Lock app. The Master Lock app icon is shown in Figure C. When you first open the Master Lock app, you’ll need to sign in (either with the information and password sent in the email you received from Master Lock, or with your new password if you registered using the Master Lock web page).

Once you have signed in to the app, you will stay signed in until you log out. You should exit the app and restart it before you unlock a padlock. It is good practice to exit the app after each use, because it seems to get flaky if left open for long.

When you open the Master Lock app after signing in, the page you see when the app first opens provides a list of all locks available to you. At the top of the page (as shown in the Figure D), you can choose “AUTHORIZED” or “AWAKE”.

Click on AWAKE (Figure E), and you’ll see no locks listed (Figure F), with an instruction to “Press any button on your lock to wake it up.” Do that, and a blue light appears on the lock (Figure G).

The display in the Master Lock app will promptly show that lock, with a key button. Press the key button on your cellphone, and your cellphone will display a green count-down timer. The light on the padlock turns green, indicating that it is unlocked (Figure H).

Pull the padlock open. The app then shows a symbol showing that the padlock is open (Figure I). You don’t need your cellphone when you later lock the padlock. Just close it, and you’re all set.

Top Row: Figure C (top left), Figure D, Figure E, Figure F (top right); Bottom Row: Figure G (bottom left), Figure H, Figure I (bottom right).

There may be times when you cannot open a lock because it has been set to be available only to the boat owner’s household, or when a boat has been reported as damaged and is taken out of service until it is repaired. In this case, the lock will not appear on your app when you push the button on the lock.

KNOWN PROBLEMS: It seems that if the Master Lock app is left open for too long, it may get confused and fail to see an awake lock that it should see. The solution is to fully exit from the app and then restart it. Also, occasionally a lock won’t open on the first try, but will open after several tries. You have to wait until the timer runs down before you can try to unlock the lock again. Sometimes locks don’t immediately re-lock, but if the lock is closed, it will eventually re-lock. All the locks have been sprayed with a dry Teflon lubricant, which may reduce the frequency of these problems occurring. If you do have a problem with a lock, please let us know via email.

This video shows how to open the padlocks: 

How Do I Use the Paddle Locking Devices?

The paddle locking system shown in the four photographs to the right (Figures J - M) is designed to hold a paddle firmly using pads of neoprene rubber in the recesses for the paddles. Figure J shows the paddle locking device open, ready to receive the two halves of a kayak or paddleboard paddle (or two canoe paddles). Figure K shows the paddle locking device closed, with both paddle halves in place. After locking the paddle into the paddle locking device, simply load the boat on top, and then string the locking cable as needed to lock the boat. In some instances, there will be a steel ring for use in locking the boat; see Figure L. For some boats, the locking cable is routed under a seat and then back to the hasp. Once the locking cable is in place, slip its looped end through the padlock and then hook the padlock on to the hasp, as shown in Figure M.

Figure J (top left); Figure K (top right); Figure L (bottom left); Figure M (bottom right)

How Do I Get My Boat to the Water Without Damaging It?

Please carry boats to the water. Do not drag them. Boat carts are provided for moving heavy boats to and from the water. Please don’t use boat carts to carry anything except boats. Boat carts are available at Beach 2 (Map Location J6), Beach 3 (Map Location E2), and Beach 4 (Map Location L6). Beach maps can be found on "The Fleet.". Please be sure to lock the carts when you finish using them. Please let us know if the home-made carts could benefit from modification.

Are Life Jackets Available?

You should bring your own life vest(s), but there are some available for guests at Beach 4.

There are life jackets available in a cabinet at Beach 4 for guests, including adult and child sizes. The cabinet is attached to the lifeguard locker at map location L6. Beach maps can be found on the Boating on Barcroft page of this website.

The padlock on this cabinet is different from those for the boats, but works the same—just push any button to wake it up. The LBBS group strongly encourages you to get your own life jacket if you don’t already have one, both for convenience and to make sure that what you have will be comfortable. There are various Coast Guard Personal Flotation Device (PFD) Types. With the exception of the rather expensive self-inflating types, the safer a PFD is, the less comfortable. For someone who is going to be paddling or fishing, a Type III PFD ($30-$100) is most comfortable and recommended. For someone who will only be a passenger in a boat, a Type II PFD is a better idea. They are generally cheaper, less comfortable for activities, but safer. You might want to try some on at Dick's sporting goods or REI, or any other outdoor sports store, to see what seems best for you.