CLAYTOR LAKE, Va. – Spots like Claytor Lake are super popular on holiday weekends, but there are a few things you should keep in mind before you get in the water.
This weekend, hundreds of people will make their way to lakes across the Commonwealth to celebrate the Fourth of July.
Officials at Claytor Lake State Park are urging people to be careful, especially with the increase in visitors.
Park Manager Broderick Havens says to keep a close eye on your children at the lake.
“The buddy system works really well — so pair up your children with someone who’s a little bit older in age, and keep track of them throughout the day,” Havens said.
Laci Armes is a lifeguard at the park and says while there are lifeguards on duty, you still need to watch your kids.
“Even if there are lifeguards on stand, because we’re watching so many other people,” Armes said.
Armes says even though they don’t allow alcohol on the beach, it’s another thing to keep in mind.
“Not everyone is going to listen, so it’s a rough one,” she said.
Havens says you should never drink and drive a boat, and if you’re a passenger drinking alcohol, be aware that it’s not the same as drinking on land.
“Your body’s not quite used to being on the water, so even what you would think is not a level of intoxication on land, could be intoxicating on water,” Havens said.
The bottom line according to Havens? Know how your equipment works.
“Boats are not the same as cars — they do not have a set of brakes. You have a steering wheel, and forward and reverse, so getting stopped is different than on land,” Havens said.
And when it comes to swimming, Armes says not to forget your floaties or life vest, no matter what age.
“Take your floatation devices and put them out there,” Armes said. “If you can’t swim that well, don’t go too deep.”
The park also wants to remind people that even though it’s a holiday weekend, fireworks are not allowed on park property.