Commonwealth Journal

Local News

May 24, 2013

Robinson: Higher lake levels hide dangers


Somerset —

“There’s a lot of debris right now,” said Robinson. “When you’re going down the lake, watch out for logs, things like that. They’ve washed off the banks and come back up again.”
The debris can cause problems when swimming or boating, when one unknowingly comes across an obstacle in their path. This can lead to physical harm or even wrecking one’s watercraft.
Another change from years past: alcohol. Though boaters have always been able to bring in adult beverages from out of town — and have done so — such products are more readily available than ever with Somerset having gone “wet” over the last year.
The rules for operating a boat are the same as in a car: don’t drink and drive. Robinson noted that drinking causes the same impaired judgment problems when behind the controls of a watercraft as on the road.
“A lot of our (boating) accidents that we get into in the area are due to alcohol,” he said. “I’m sure the water patrol will be beefing up this year with the water being back up. ... They’ll give you a tick and take you to jail (for operating a boat under the influence).”
More docks are expected to be open now with the higher lake levels, said Robinson, with some areas that may be less familiar to lake users who hadn’t been able to access those areas in the recent past. As such, Robinson warned to keep a careful out for traffic around the launching point, and any children that may be running around of jumping out of cars.
And of course, the tried-and-true piece of boating safety advice — wear your lifejackets.
“Especially small children,” said Robinson, noting the importance of taking care of little ones first — plus, it’s the law.

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