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Duke Energy encourages lake safety

Posted: May 22, 2014 3:45 p.m.
Updated: May 23, 2014 5:00 a.m.

Monday, Memorial Day marks the traditional start of the summer recreation season. Duke Energy encourages everyone to practice safety while boating and enjoying other activities on the lakes along the Catawba River.

Each year, thousands of people die or are injured, and millions of dollars of property damage occur because of preventable recreational boating accidents on U.S. waterways.

Everyone can make a difference by knowing and following all state-required safety rules and guidelines for boat operation, and ensuring each boat has the required safety equipment for the number of occupants and activities planned.

Duke Energy reminds people overnight camping, fires, littering, removal of any vegetation and permanent structures are strictly prohibited on any of the lakes’ public recreation access areas, islands or along the shoreline.

“As you make your Memorial Day plans, we remind boating enthusiasts to pick up after their day on the lake, respect the access areas, the islands, their neighbors and enjoy the outdoors safely,” said Scott Jolley, public safety and recreation planning project manager for Duke Energy. “Help us promote safety and keep these recreational areas clean.”

Please follow these other guidelines while enjoying the lakes:

• Parking at public recreation access areas is permitted in marked spaces only. Vehicles and trailers should not park along the highway. Vehicles found in prohibited areas may be towed without prior notice, at the owner's expense.

• Keep the environment safe and clean by leaving no trace of your visit to the lakes. Handle gasoline and oil with care to avoid spills. Please don't litter and consider recycling plastics, glass, and aluminum containers.

• Always wear a personal floatation device -- one should be available for every passenger. Ensure children are wearing the appropriate size.

• Remember to stay hydrated, and keep children hydrated. Wearing a flotation device for a long period of time can accelerate dehydration.

• Don’t overload a boat. Seats do not indicate capacity.

• Keep track of the weather. If caught in rough water, keep low in the boat and head the boat’s bow into the waves.

• Alcohol and water don't mix. Alcohol distorts a person's judgment and slows down reaction time. Don’t mix alcohol with boating or swimming.

• Always be attentive on the water, and focus on operating the boat. Remember an accident can happen very quickly. Stay alert for other boaters, skiers and swimmers.

• Use caution upstream and downstream of hydro dams due to strong currents, and observe posted signage.

• Carry all the proper equipment including a cell phone, drinking water (to prevent dehydration) and develop a float plan to let your friends and family know where you are going and when you will return.

• Take advantage of the boating expertise that is available. The American Red Cross, S.C. Department of Natural Resources, local marine commissions and other organizations offer a variety of safe boating and swimming courses. Free boat inspections are also available through local U.S. Coast Guard auxiliaries and Power Squadrons.

For questions, please call Duke Energy Lake Services at 1-800-443-5193.

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