SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE, Va. (WFXR) — While it may seem like a no-brainer for some boaters, boater safety continues to be stressed heavily during summer holiday weekends.
“There’s way more boats on the holiday weekend,” said Fincastle resident and avid boater, Kevin Hall.
Smith Mountain Lake is no exception to more boaters taking to the water. Boat ramps like the one at Hardy Ford, which normally sees little boat traffic, has lines of boats trying to get in and out of the lake.
“Definitely more people,” said Fincastle resident Joseph Charette.
“A lot more of an increase in traffic, a lot more wakes,” added Joseph’s dad, Andre.
Boaters like the Charette spent their first Labor Day weekend out on the lake. First time or not, they were prepared for the heavy traffic.
“You gotta keep your eyes forward, head up, always look at what’s ahead,” Andre said. “Just like out on the road, the water has rules, also.”
The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (VDWR) warns boaters that heavy rains from the last week have raised lake and river levels and urge extra caution when out of on the water for the remaining holiday weekend.
Since the start of 2020, Virginia wildlife officials report 18 people have died in the Commonwealth from boating incidents.
Boaters like Hall urge safety, regardless of how high the water is.
“You have to pay attention; you have to be alert the whole time,” Hall said. “Take it slow, just look out for other boaters, drive defensively.”
If all goes according to plan, everyone on the water can enjoy the last day of Labor Day weekend.
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