Summer fun comes with risk on the water. Several companies offer safety devices to keep your family safe while on the lakes.
LAKE NORMAN FROM CATAWBA, NC – The kickoff of summer means thousands of families are heading out to enjoy our lakes and beaches, but with the fun comes some risk.
Safety on the water is paramount. Every summer there are tragic drownings on the waterways or boating emergencies.
In the first half of 2020, there were four drownings in Lake Norman. All of the deceased originally used boat rentals.
The tragedies have long impacted the way lake rental companies do business.
“We went on the boat and had a great time,” said Ty Walker, who was celebrating his sister’s birthday on the lake on Saturday.
She used Lake Life Rentals, a new company that was booked over Memorial Day weekend.
“Those waves and that boat were rocking, but we had a blast,” Walker said.
The party contained adult drinks, but none of the patrons drove the boat. This was left to a captain provided by the company as part of the deal.
“Everyone’s safety is our number one priority,” said Jessica Thomas, who helps operate the business.
She said the majority of her boats for rent come with a captain. This ensures that no one is drinking and driving and that someone is always there, Thomas said.
“It’s so important to have someone there to make sure they also know what’s going on around you, to make sure you and your group are okay,” she added. .
It’s a life-saving gesture, especially when the police explain the main cause of boating emergencies.
“Statistically, the number one cause of accidents on the lake is inexperience and congestion,” CMPD officer Stanley Joyce said at a news conference ahead of the holiday weekend.
Anyone who wants to operate a boat and was born on or after January 1, 1988 must have a boater’s training certificate, according to North Carolina law.
However, there are 11 exemptions, including for tenants.
Driving conditions are left entirely to rental companies like Lake Life Rentals and Lake Norman Marina.
“We just kind of eliminated that gray area and you have to be 26 to rent or drive the boat,” Lake Norman Marina manager Hank Lail said in a 2020 interview.
Safety is also paramount to them, requiring tenants to watch a training video before leaving the docks.
“And we love seeing people come in and be careful and careful, especially with the little ones around,” Lail added.
Life jackets are also essential, according to state law. You must have one per person inside a boat and children under 13 must have them.