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Boat safety tips to keep in mind the next time you hit the water

Take precaution as future rain forecasts could lead to flooding

Boat safety tips after recent flooding
Boat safety tips after recent flooding

Smith Mountain Lake, Va. – Some lakes are dealing with high water levels after record-breaking rainfall in parts of Southwest Virginia.

Therefore, there are some safety tips families should keep in mind before they take their next boating trip.

When temperatures start to rise, people may want to go for a boat ride or even jet skiing, but they should watch out for rising water levels before taking a dive.

After the recent rainfall, Smith Mountain Lake’s current water levels are slightly high. Though the levels are not concerning right now, Bedford resident Brian Zeman remembers the lake flooding last year on Memorial Day weekend.

“The water was over the dock and it was some good ways up here,” Zeman said. “Unfortunately, you can’t use the boat during that time frame. It creates a lot of debris and stuff in the lake.”

This weekend, there is plenty of debris in the lakes, Virginia Conservation Police Sgt. Tim Dooley points out. After seeing tree-sized debris in the past, Dooley said it can be extremely hazardous.

“If you hit that with your boat, it could do a lot of damage to your boat,” Dooley said. “Maybe even hurt someone, especially if you are towing either tubers or skiers behind your boat.”

Dooley advises that boaters always pack life safety vests and adjust them to fit correctly. Zeman takes this rule a step further and also straps a life jacket on his dog, Blue.

The main tip to keep in mind is to always check the weather forecast before heading out on the lake or even going fishing at a creek or river. Heavy rainfall can cause rivers and creeks to overflow and alter current speeds. Be careful stepping in these bodies of water as there may be hidden hazards just beneath the surface.

About the Author:

Alexus joined 10 News in October 2020.