It's chilly outside, but Lake Norman safety and law enforcement organizations are already heating up plans for the boating season. And getting those boaters through the year without any fatalities or serious incidents is their primary focus.
Improving the lake's Aids to Navigation is a big part of that, said Ron Shoultz, chairman of the Lake Norman Marine Commission.
"It's quite a task to maintain our current navigational system, because it's a large body of water," he said. "That is where the lion's share of our budget goes because it's a tremendous aid to all boaters and we want to keep it up to the best of our ability."
He said that getting more community involvement in the marine commission - which has representatives from the four counties that border the lake - is critical to effectively address safety and other issues on the lake.
"We're working on getting a few more committees going in areas we think have a need for more involvement and when we get more details on those, we will update the community," he said. "We invite all Lake Norman residents to actively participate in the marine commission and learn more about what we do."
Lieutenant Todd Carver with the Iredell County Sheriff's Office said his department's on-lake focus during the boating season is always on safety - but more and more, officers are getting complaints about "No wake" zone violations.
"Our biggest complaint by far is wake zone violations, with people coming in closer (to docks and piers) than 150 feet at greater than wake speed," he said. "Last year, we had to arrest a number of people who caused property damage with their wakes."
BWI, or boating while intoxicated, is the next biggest headache for law enforcement officers.
"More often than not, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission catches the BWIs; they're kind of like the Highway Patrol of the lake," Carver said. "but we get complaints and we respond."
Read more at http://www2.mooresvilletribune.com/news/2012/jan/16/lake-2012-ar-1819368/