CLARKS HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA – Lake days are upon us and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Park Rangers are working around the clock to make sure people are being safe on the water.
Park Rangers say many Lake Strom Thurmond fatalities occur because people swim outside of the designated areas, without life vests, and distances on the water are very deceiving.
“Halfway across the cove is not the place to find out that you cannot swim that far,” Jay Weidman, of the Lake Strom Thurmond U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Park Rangers, said.
Park Ranger Weidman say he cannot emphasize enough, to swimmers on the lake, that life vests save lives, but only if you wear them.
When it comes to swimming, Weidman says there is safety in numbers. Families with small children should consider designating a person to keep an eye on the kids.
“Anybody that has children knows how quickly they can take off, get out of sight, or get into something,” Weidman told WJBF News Channel 6.
With almost 12,000 miles of shoreline Park Rangers and D.N.R. officers have a lot of lake to patrol. That’s why they created designated swimming areas that keep people from unknown dangers on the lake.
“Out there by that yellow marker and that white pole you can see how deep it is. Pick another spot 20 feet up the bank that doesn’t have that and it’s a totally known situation for you and no one can tell you what’s under that water with any certainty,” Weidman said.
Before you pack up the floats, it’s a good idea to check the forecast.
“The severe prediction center has a marginal risk for some severe isolated storms across northeastern Georgia,” said WJBF News Channel 6 Chief Meteorologist George Myers.
“If you have a thunderstorm pop-up or you have a wind advisory for the lake it’s a pretty good place to stay away from,” Weidman added.
It’s also important to tell someone where on the water you plan to set up for the day and when you think you’ll head back home.
“That way if you have something happen. A breakdown or something or if you have an accident. Someone will know where to start looking for you,” the Park Ranger said.
Park Rangers do go out into the community and give lake safety talks.
For more information or just how to have a Park Ranger come speak at your organization, click here.