The Brazos River Authority has installed new markers on Lake Granbury to identify an existing stump field near a highly traveled part of the lake
Granbury Mayor Nin Hulett reached out to BRA leadership with concerns that an area near the Water’s Edge subdivision posed a threat to boaters traveling outside the channel markers. The BRA agreed that the recent influx of visitors to the reservoir would benefit from additional visualizations regarding that area of the lake.
This particular stump field stretches 4,100 feet long and roughly runs the length of the Water’s Edge subdivision, below the Catalina Bay area.
Recent boat accidents in the area were due to boaters not following existing channel marker buoys and traveling through an area they weren’t familiar with, said Reservoir Manager Connie Tucker.
Buoys, which float on top of the water, and markers across the reservoir are vital for boaters to pay attention to and learn about prior to getting on the water. Waterway signs help the boat operator identify danger areas and restricted zones. There are 108 red and white-striped channel markers on the reservoir, or buoys that indicate to the boat operator where to operate the vessel.
Lake Rangers placed a hazard buoy – which is white with an orange diamond - at each end of the stump field near the Water’s Edge subdivision and one in the middle. Dotted between those, Lake Rangers placed markers – or orange floating balls.
This particular area of the reservoir wasn’t much of an issue a few years ago, Tucker said.
“When we were in the drought, you could see all the stumps,” said Tucker, noting during 2014 the lake was 11 feet low. “Now it’s become an issue because visitors, or those who didn’t live here during that time, don’t know the lake. This lake has all sorts of stump fields. That’s why we have channel markers. Stay in the channel and stay safe.”
The stump field near the Water’s Edge subdivision marks just 4,000 feet of the lake that is 33 miles long.
“If we marked every stump field on Lake Granbury, the majority of the lake would be one big hazard buoy,” Tucker said.
The BRA offers free physical maps of Lake Granbury to those who request one at email@example.com. While the map does show some stump fields, there is always the possibility for other hazard concerns in the water.
“When we have large releases from Possum Kingdom Lake, we can get debris, and that dislodges trees and they get stuck in places that have never had stump issues,” Tucker said. “You never know what’s going to pop up where.”
The reservoir is currently .22 feet low, which is less than 3 inches. Water use and evaporation rates both increase during summer months. Match that with a lack of rain and the lake level is likely to drop. If Lake Granbury drops a foot or more, stump fields that were fine to travel over before will now become a problem, Tucker said.
“Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not there,” she said.
Before hitting the lake, consider enrolling the whole family in a boater education course. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department offers these courses throughout Texas, online and through home course kits. The programs, which are required for anyone operating a boat born on or after September 1, 1993, will teach the importance of boating safety and responsibility. Boat insurance companies often provide discounts after successful completion of the course. While on the water, do not forget that in Texas, children less than 13 years of age are required to wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved personal flotation device (PFD) while boating. And, both children and adults must wear lifejackets while on personal watercrafts. All boats, including canoes and kayaks, must have one suitable and approved PFD for each person onboard.
Don’t forget a law that went into effect less than a year ago.
Kali’s Law went into effect Sept. 1. The new mandatory ignition “kill switch” requirement was passed by the Texas Legislature to ensure more people get home safely. An ignition safety kill switch shuts off the boat motor automatically if the operator is thrown from the helm, according to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. The device is typically a lanyard with a special clip at the end that the boat operator wears. The idea is if the driver is thrown from the boat, the lanyard goes too, causing the boat to automatically disengage, and keeping the propeller from harming anyone in the water.
For more boating safety tips and information, go here.