Lake Norman & Mooresville

Lake patrol expects busy Memorial Day

For many Lake Norman residents, Memorial Day signals the start of boating season.

Considering the weather is expected to be warm and sunny, police are preparing for it to be busy on the lake.

Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Officer Randy Echerd of the Lake Enforcement Unit provided these tips to ensure a safe holiday weekend:

Have a designated driver. Like on roads, the legal alcohol limit is 0.08 for all boat drivers.

Per state general statute, liquor is only allowed in residences, reception halls and places that have an alcohol permit. If you're boat isn't considered a house boat, leave the liquor behind.

Police will enforce the mandatory boater education law on Memorial Day weekend. This law, which went into effect a year ago, requires that any boat driver under the age of 26 take a boating safety class and carry the certificate with them at all times.

Adhere to the boat's capacity. "You don't want to overload a boat because the more weight that's in it, the more unstable it becomes. It can sink or capsize," said Echerd.

You must have a lifejacket available for everyone on board, and children under 13 must wear their life jacket at all times.

"If you can't find one for your infant or 2-year-old, don't bring them. They do make lifejackets for that age but they're hard to find," he said.

Boaters must remain at least 150 feet away from any dock, unless the boat is traveling at low speed and generating no wake.

"It can be especially dangerous for people swimming near docks," said Echerd.

Make sure a working fire extinguisher and horn are on your boat at all times.

For residents wanting to enjoy a quiet Memorial Day on the Lake, Echerd recommends they go out before lunchtime.

"It gets busy between lunch and sunset," said Echerd. "At night there's really not a lot of traffic out, but the later it gets, the more likely you'll have cases of alcohol impairment."