FLINT, Texas (KETK) — The triple-digit temperatures have lake levels dipping below normal and causing safety issues for boaters and swimmers. With the lack of rainfall in East Texas, the water level at Lake Palestine as of Sunday sits at two feet below normal.
“Unfortunately, with the water levels being so low, it’s one of those things where we have to keep them towards the shoreline, and then with it being hot… people running boats for maybe two, four, maybe even six hours. They aren’t staying out there for their full duration because of the hundred-degree temperatures,” said Brandon Clouatre, Supervisor at Village Marina at Lake Palestine.
East Texas lake goers are picking up their boats from the dock as water levels drop this summer.
This year’s drought and scorching heat put swimmers and boaters in more danger than usual. Management at Village Marina at Lake Palestine says they’ve had customers not staying for their full duration.
“Main water hazard is timber. This lake was filled up in 1962 so you have old dead trees rising up through the water. It can damage the hold of the boat, can damage the propeller, you can throw or break a propeller, and what can end up happening is if you’re going at a high rate speed and the propeller flies off, you can literally just come off the boat if you’re going too fast,” said Cloutre.
Trees, boulders, discarded materials and other debris are now closer to the water’s surface or poking through it. It’s recommended to be aware of your surroundings, slow your speed and trim your engine up higher to not hit a sandbar.
“We go out on a weekly basis and we have maps and determine where the stumps are at and report it back to the customers and make sure that they know what is going on,” said Cloutre. “At the same time, it’s also upon the customer themselves to be familiar with the lake, especially if you have a boat and you’re out here a lot or live along the lake.”
Not only do low water levels make it difficult to bring your boat to shore, but also can be a danger to wildlife as fish can wash up on the bank.
“Well, here at our marina… it will actually sink if we don’t have enough water. This is a floating pier so it will sink and it’ll actually tilt to the side. So, low water level makes it unsafe for our workers,” said Ta’Rodrick Brooks, a maintenance and grounds worker at Village Marina at Lake Palestine.
Anytime you’re out on the water, experts say to always wear a life jacket.
If you happen to be stranded out on the water and require immediate attention, you are urged to contact the Village Marina at Lake Palestine at 903-561-1413 or 911.