Don't let underwater hazards ruin a great day at the lake

Don't let underwater hazards ruin a great day at the lake

With a holiday around the corner and summer on the horizon, time on the lake may be calling your name. But don't let underwater hazards ruin a good time.

Activity is beginning to ramp up on area lakes as many shake off rainy days in search of fun in the sun and on the water. Whether it's your first time or your 100th cruising any of the three Brazos River Authority reservoirs, don't forget to take the time to familiarize yourself with the lake's layout before taking your watercraft out.

The lake levels at Possum Kingdom Lake, Lake Limestone, and Lake Granbury could fluctuate from one day to the next as they serve their intended purpose. This means visibility of underwater hazards will vary.

Everyone's safety is too important not to play it safe.

When the Brazos River Authority lakes were first filled, workers left trees in place covering the river valley. Like other reservoirs around the world, tree stumps and brush were left to provide underwater habitat. How much of those trees break the water's surface depends on the reservoir's level. 

So, if you're planning on pulling a water skier, taking out the jet ski, or simply cruising the lake in your watercraft, be aware of the potential for underwater hazards. Fast-moving watercraft might not see submerged stumps or sandbars quickly 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.

BRA regulations require watercraft to operate at a slow speed that does not create a wake when within 100 feet of a shoreline, boathouse, dock, other watercraft, or area where people are swimming or diving. The safest route on the water is to stick to the middle of the lake and observe buoys marking the channels.

On Lakes Granbury and Possum Kingdom, look for mid-channel markers or centerline buoys. 

Mid-channel markers are either white with red stripes or red with white stripes, like a candy cane. The channel markers are strategically placed to indicate the center of the reservoir, which is the deepest portion. They are lighted for navigational assistance in low-light conditions.

Enjoy the water and do it safely. 

If you'd like a free copy of a physical map of Possum Kingdom Lake, Lake Granbury and/or Lake Limestone, email your name and physical mailing address to information@brazos.org.