May 31, 2006, Columbia, SC, – With rainfall almost 50 percent below average this spring, drought-like conditions across the Midlands have kept Lake Murray well below its normal summer level. With that in mind, it is important that the public keep safety as their top priority as they enjoy Lake Murray this summer.
Lake users should use caution while enjoying the lake and beware of tree stumps, sandbars and other hazards that exist just below the surface of the water. Boaters and swimmers must exercise extreme caution while they are in or near the water.
“We realize that the lower lake level and related safety precautions have inconvenienced residents, business owners and the folks who enjoy the lake for recreation,” said Tommy Boozer with SCE&G’s Lake Management Department. “While we wait for rain to improve lake levels, it is important for lake users to be aware of their surroundings while the lake is low.”
As an added precaution, SCE&G will not allow swimming at the public beach on the south side of the dam when it opens on June 5. Sunbathing and picnicking will be allowed.
SCE&G suggests that boaters follow these tips from the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources:
- Boating education is required for anyone younger than 16 who wants to operate a motorboat or personal watercraft (jet ski) with an engine 15 HP or greater, without being accompanied by an adult age 18 or older.
- Don’t drink alcohol while operating a boat. Use a designated driver just like you would in a motor vehicle. It is against the law to operate a watercraft under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Have the necessary safety equipment on board your boat.
a. A Coast Guard-approved wearable personal flotation device, such as a life jacket, is required for each person on a boat. Almost all boating-related fatalities could be avoided with the proper use of life jackets.
b. A throwable personal flotation device is required on all boats 16 feet or longer. Fire extinguishers are a good idea on all boats and required on most boats.
c. All boats must have an efficient sound-producing device (horn or whistle) on board.
- Anyone on a personal watercraft and all children under the ages of 12 in a boat less than 16 feet in length must wear a life jacket.
- Know impending weather conditions by checking the local forecast before taking to the water.
- File a float plan by telling someone where you intend to go and when you plan to return. This could save your life in the event of an accident. Be sure to cancel the float plan when you return.
- Use caution and stay alert on the water. Be aware of other boaters, obstacles to navigation and swimmers.
- A life jacket must be worn while water skiing. Remember, a ski belt is not an approved personal flotation device.
For more information on boating safety, visit the S.C. Department of Natural Resources Web site at http://www.dnr.sc.gov/.
South Carolina Electric & Gas Company is a regulated public utility engaged in the generation, transmission, distribution and sale of electricity to approximately 613,000 customers in 24 counties in the central, southern and southwestern portions of South Carolina. The company also provides natural gas service to approximately 294,000 customers in 34 counties in the state. Information about SCE&G is available on the company’s web site at www.sceg.com.