The holiday weekend will bring many boaters and swimmers out on the waters.
Top Ranger at the Department of Natural Resources Mike England says most of the bigger lakes are at safe levels, but for smaller water bodies that may be low due to the drought, people should take caution.
"They want to make sure they check the water before they dive right in," says England. "That they don’t just jump off the boat and hit an obstruction right under the water there, a rock or a tree limb."
England says lake-goers should be sure they know their exact location in case they need to call in an emergency.
As far as law enforcement’s presence to ensure safety on the waters…
"We’re pretty much just complaint driven now," says England," instead of just checking areas, patrolling areas. People see us out in the boat and a lot of them are behaving, but here again our numbers are real down, and they’re down across the state for everybody."
The DNR has lost dozens of rangers in budget cuts over the years. It's at 184 positions state-wide, down from 252 before the recession.
Meanwhile, 12 people died in boating incidents this year, that's twice as much as last year.
Corrections: "Meanwhile, 12 people died in boating incidents this year, that's twice as much as last year." is incorrect and was misreported via a DNR interview. A review of statistics on-line indicate: boating fatalities have been on the on the rise in recent years. Last year, 16 people died in boating accidents. The year before it was 13. So far this year, there's been 12 fatalities.