Debris from recent rain could keep boat towing services busy this holiday weekend

Appalachian Power urging caution for Smith Mountain Lake boaters


SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE – Sea Tow captains know to expect to be cruising up and down Smith Mountain Lake often this weekend because of the increased number of boats on the water for the holiday.

But with the increased debris in the water they also know there's even more of a chance for boaters to be in need of service.

"Some of those logs that are floating around half-submerged are big enough to break a prop or hurt a gear case or whatever," said Jerry Halle, a captain with Sea Tow.

On Friday, Appalachian Power put out a reminder about the debris, urging boaters to be cautious if they're going to be out on the lake.

Halle reminds boaters to be vigilant even if they don't see a lot of debris.

"(There's) less intense debris in the lower reaches of the rivers, but maybe people are less on the lookout for it there," said Halle.

Paddy Braunstein took her boat out on the lake for its maiden voyage Saturday.

"We are launching the Touch of Grey today, so we're excited," Braunstein said.

She said she is aware of all of the debris floating around in the water.

"We watch for it. We certainly watch for it," Braunstein emphasized. "There is a lot of debris right now."

Despite the risk of boating with all of the debris in the water, boat wakes could help wash the debris down stream.

But, the wakes could also wash more debris into the water.

"Boat wakes, with the traffic of Memorial Day weekend, will wash more logs off the shore that are hung up," Halle explained.

For boaters like Braunstein though, the enjoyment of being out on the water, especially for the holiday weekend, is worth it.

"Memorial Day is great, but every weekend is lovely," said Braunstein.

If boaters spot dangerous debris, they are urged to safely move it to shore if possible and to report it using this link: http://www.smithmtn.com/DebrisMgmtPlan/ReportDebrisForm.aspx.

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