Fort Mill Times

Boaters asked to slow down, use caution

Duke Energy is asking boaters on the Catawba-Wateree lakes to slow down and use caution in light of the ongoing high water conditions.

In the past several weeks, lakes have been higher than normal due to heavy rainfall and runoff into lakes.

Duke Energy is moving water downstream to create storage space in Lake Norman and Lake Wylie to hold additional rain. This is a protective measure to help minimize more flooding in low-lying areas.

“The high water creates unsafe boating conditions with submerged and floating debris, increases shoreline erosion and impacts shoreline property, such as docks and boathouses,” said John Crutchfield, director of public safety & recreation planning services. “We are asking boaters to exercise extreme caution and slow down until conditions return to normal.”

Boaters are reminded that they are liable for wake damage and should be considerate of shoreline impacts. Shoreline impacts are especially magnified in narrower parts of lakes with numerous coves, such as Lake Wylie and Lake Wateree, where boat wakes quickly reach the shoreline.

Duke Energy has been working to reduce lake levels, which have been ranging from near full pond to as much as two and a half feet above full pond in recent weeks.

Additional rainfall is forecasted in the next several days. This may result in rapidly changing conditions and will affect how long it will take to get lake levels back to normal.

Flowing spillways at hydro dams can be beautiful to look at, but the water immediately above and below them is treacherous. Duke Energy reminds the public to heed warning signs posted near dangerous areas and avoid boating and swimming in these areas. Unusual swirling currents can pull boats and people toward the dam and under the water.

People should watch for increased currents, wear life jackets and stay alert to changing weather conditions.

“We appreciate the boating public for observing this request to help prevent injury and property damage.”

The public can check real-time lake levels and special updates 24 hours a day at and on Duke Energy’s lake information phone line at 800-829-5253.