Lakes have an unwanted visitor here to stay for the coming months.
Tree stumps and sandbars, long submerged by heavy rains these past few months, are emerging daily at Possum Kingdom Lake, Lake Granbury and Lake Limestone. The hotter it gets, the higher the evaporation rate, and the more people using water will draw down a lake's elevation.
So even if you've familiarized yourself with the layout of the lake, don't trust your memory in cruising any of the three Brazos River Authority reservoirs, which have been full the past few months. Instead, stay alert to potential hazards and consider scouting out an area before, say, letting the kids loose on a jet ski. Conditions can change daily, and everyone's safety is too important to not play it safe.
Enjoying the water in a pool is quite different from enjoying the water at a reservoir. These three reservoirs are man-made. This means that when they were first filled, workers left in place countless trees that covered the river valley. So, like other reservoirs around the world, stumps remain, a quality well-loved by fishermen as it provides habitat for aquatic life.
Fast-moving watercraft might not see submerged stumps or sandbars quick enough to avoid the hazards. Even if no one is injured, when a watercraft strikes a stump, repairs for the resulting damage can be costly.
When in doubt, follow the channel markers.
The channel markers are strategically placed to indicate the center of the reservoir, which is the deepest portion. Mid-channel markers are either white with red stripes or red with white stripes like a candy cane. Boaters may pass these buoys on either side, usually staying to the right. They are lighted for navigational assistance in low-light conditions.
"Vertical Red, Vertical White, marks mid-channel, pass left or right." – Paddling.com
Remember, you're not alone on the water either.
Respect goes a long way between boat operators. Give other boaters plenty of room when passing and never cut another boater off. In doing so, you're also staying aware of other boats around you. Whether you're cruising around or anchored out, it's important to stay aware of your surroundings.
Make a habit of keeping a roll of trash bags on the vessel. Help keep trash out of our waterway by taking it with you at the end of the day. And if a piece of trash flies out of your neighbor's boat, you have something to put it in when you pick it up in passing.
Enjoy the summer months and time operating a watercraft on the reservoir. Just do so while wearing a kill switch, a life jacket, sunscreen, and while sober.
If you'd like a free copy of a physical map of Possum Kingdom Lake, Lake Granbury and/or Lake Limestone, email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and address.