RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Warmer weather means more people are hitting Triangle lakes for some fun on the water.
“Finally people are coming back out and the water is actually warm enough to get wet,” jet skier Heather Wells said.
Every year, busy lakes mean more calls for law enforcement and agencies want to get ahead of safety concerns that arise when more people take to the lake.
That’s why Saturday, the Wake County Sheriff’s Office, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary spent the day voluntarily checking at boats, answering questions and teaching people about boater safety on Falls Lake.
“What we want to do is inform the public how deep this water is, the terrain that’s underneath the surface, so they’ll have a safer use of the water and not get themselves into trouble,” said Wake County Sheriff’s Office Sheriff’s Maj. George Barnes.
Last year alone, the Wake County Sheriff’s office responded to four drownings at Falls Lake.
The sheriff’s office has staged its response boats closer to the water in order to try and cut down on response times.
“Every single day of the week, there will be a boat as you see behind me, or staff, at or in the water,” Barnes said.
Barnes warns boaters to steer clear of drinking on the lake as it commonly complicates emergency situations.
“Alcohol and water activities do not mix,” Barnes said. “It’s tempting to be drinking out on your boat, out on these shorelines, but it causes problems.”
Hayden Schackelford with the Coast Guard Auxiliary said he recommends everyone, both boaters and passengers, take a boating safety course before hitting the water this summer.
“You get a lot of people that are out on the water that’s never taken a boating class and so they don’t have that experience,” Schackelford said.
Wells said taking a safety course online helped her family.
“It tells you so much about what the little symbols mean out on the water and what to be aware of and proper adequate while driving through the water,” Wells said.