New law prevents water balloons at Smith Mountain Lake Pirate Days

The change is due to a new law

MONETA, Va. – Hundreds of pirates will swarm Smith Mountain Lake for Pirate Days, but a new law is warning the visiting buccaneers to not bring water balloons.

Water balloons aren’t the treasure you want to leave behind as you could end up facing fines and punishment.

“I agree with the fact that we don’t want the trash in the lake,” Crazy Horse Marina Manager Chris Bechtler said. “It’s sad that we have to have a law telling people not to do that.”

The regulation says that individuals who release a balloon and are 16 and older will have to pay a penalty of $25 per balloon released. And If the person is under 16, the adult will be liable for the penalty.

The rule was put in place to keep debris out of natural resources and keep wildlife safe, a protection the manager of the marina, Chris Bechtler, takes seriously.

“When we started doing this about 11 years ago when we first got here to Crazy Horse,” said Bechtler. “My wife suggested the idea that we use the pump.”

P J Nagel, Capt. Party store owner, said they have discouraged water balloons as ammunition for years, but this is a new hurdle.

“This is the first year that it’s going to be enforced and we’ve been trying to do due diligence by telling everybody here at the marina,” Nagel said.

This year, Nagel said the store is selling Buccaneer Blasters.

“They’ll throw water a good 15 to 20 feet,” Nagel said.

But water cannons and squirt guns will also still do the trick.


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Alexus joined 10 News in October 2020.