With Memorial Day marking the traditional start of the summer recreation season, Duke Energy encourages everyone to focus on safety while boating, swimming and enjoying other recreational lake activities.
Each year, thousands of people die or are injured while boating or swimming.
“We want everyone to be thinking about ways to be safe when they’re boating and swimming this season,” said Scott Jolley, public safety and recreation planning project manager for Duke Energy.
Life jackets are essential for water safety, especially for children and inexperienced swimmers. Whether swimming or boating, wearing a properly fitting life jacket is essential.
“We encourage visitors to take advantage of the life jacket loaner board program offered at some Duke Energy access areas,” said Jolley. “The life jackets can be borrowed for free, and they could help save a life.”
Additional safety tips:
• Take swimming lessons.
• Never swim alone or at night.
• The lake bottom is not generally visible and the depth can change unexpectedly with dropoffs. Carefully explore the bottom before wading or jumping into the water.
• Lake temperature changes, currents and underwater hazards can make lakes on a river system particularly dangerous.Remember that health conditions, fatigue and lake temperature changes can cause cramping.
• Avoid alcohol use. This can impair both swimming skills and judgment, and increase dehydration.
• Keep a life line with a throw ring nearby that you can throw to a swimmer who may appear to be in trouble. Consider taking turns swimming, with one person on the shoreline available to throw the lifeline or seek help.
• Let someone know where you are and look out for others in your group.
• Only swim and dive in designated areas.
• Check weather and water conditions before getting into the lake.
Life jacket loaner board locations
Life jackets in a variety of sizes for children and adults are available for temporary use. Visitors may check out a life jacket at no charge and then return it to the kiosk when done. Life jacket loaner boards are run on an honor system and availability will vary. Here are their locations:
Catawba-Wateree Lakes (N.C. and S.C.):
– Beatty’s Ford Access Area
Mountain Island Lake
– Riverbend Access Area
– Neck Road Access Area
– Buster Boyd Access Area
– Ebenezer Access Area
– South Point Access Area
– June Creek Access Area
– Taylor’s Creek Access Area
– Colonel’s Creek Access Area
– Wateree Creek Access Area
Keowee-Toxaway Lakes (S.C.):
– South Cove Access Area (2 locations)
– High Falls Access Area (2 locations)
– Devil’s Fork State Park (coming this summer)
Nantahala Lakes (N.C.):
– Pines Recreation Area
(Note: Six new loaner boards coming to Jackson County this summer)
Duke Energy Progress Lakes (N.C.):
– Hyco Lake Park Swimming Area
Real-time lake level information, scheduled flow release times and public access locations are available 24/7 at www.duke-energy.com/lakes/, which is configured for smart phones. For questions, call Duke Energy Lake Services at 1-800-443-5193.
For more access area information and locations, visit www.duke-energy.com/lakes/default.asp.