There are concerns over water levels on Lake Norman as boaters arrive for the holiday weekend — water levels are almost 5 feet below where they should be across the lake.
The Cornelius Police Department’s Lake Patrol wants any boaters coming off the dock to understand what hazards are out there.
At Blythe Landing where the water is not too deep, there are multiple boat ramps closed. The floating docks are closer to the bottom.
“We just want to spread the message that you got to know where you’re going before you come out here,” Sgt. George Brinzey said.
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There’s warnings on the shore and on the lake.
Brinzey said he knows Lake Norman will be busy for Labor Day weekend, and that regular boaters notice the lake receding. But, he said, infrequent boaters, or those renting a boat, might not realize the dangers.
“That kind of gives you an idea of what it looks like when it’s exposed — a lot of rocks,” Brinzey said while pointing to the shoreline. “This is all covered, completely covered.”
He said when the water is at normal levels, boaters will cross over tree stumps, logs and rocks. With lower levels, those obstacles are closer to the surface and so is the bottom. Hitting that can be especially dangerous.
“With abrupt elevation changes, it’s like hitting a wall,” Brinzey said.
He responded to a couple of accidents this past week where boaters said they were able to pass an area previously and couldn't now.
“It’s an abrupt stop, and we sometimes forget that boats aren’t designed for collisions like cars are. We have airbags in cars, we have padding on the dash,” Brinzey said. “Boats are very unforgiving if you were to ever hit something.”
Brinzey said before people go on the lake they should make a plan, ceck out the lake maps on Duke Energy's website and download an app that has a chart map showing water levels.