Fort Mill Times

Police: Boaters, stay off the lake

The York County Sheriff’s Office is advising boaters to stay off Lake Wylie because a large amount of debris floating downstream is making conditions dangerous.

“I suggest limiting boating for the next few days until the debris dissipates,” said Sgt. Brent Mabry with York County Sheriff’s Office lake enforcement. “It’s not safe.”

Duke Energy, which manages the lakes along the Catawba River, released a statement saying, “An enormous amount of water is moving down the river, and the resulting high lake levels are creating a lot of lake debris, including naturally occurring logs and branches, as well as loose structures and watercraft.”

Mabry, who has been with the department for 10 years, said he’s never seen so much debris in the water.

“We’re catching all the debris from flooding upstream in Lincoln and Gaston counties,” he said. “We’re not sure how much is coming but we’ll get more before it’s over.”

Tony Quinn, co-owner of Carolina Boat Club and Pier 49, said he’s been on Lake Wylie his whole life and can’t remember ever seeing so much debris. he said the club will be closed for the next two days.

“Stay off the lake,” he said. “It’s not worth it.

“Thankfully, it’s Monday, so hopefully it will clear up by the weekend,” he said.

Michael and Arleen Bradford of Steele Creek cut their day on the lake short just before noon on Monday saying “It’s a mess.”

“We just wanted to go fishing,” said Michael Bradford, adding he’s never seen anything like it in his more than a decade boating on Lake Wylie. “It looks like whole yards out there.”

Debris including organic masses, like large logs, sticks and grasses, are forming small “islands.”

“It’s a little scary in spots,” Arleen Bradford said.

She also said lakefront homeowners’ lawns are a mess, too.

“Truly amazing how much is floating in the lake right now and how dangerous the hidden debris is to boaters,” said Jim Wells, who has lived on the main channel of Lake Wylie for almost 11 years. “From cans and bottles, to tires with wheels, 10 foot logs, entire trees and large floating patches of green grass, we had a jet ski past a few minutes ago and its wake just pushed more of the debris into our riprap.”

There are no organizations that clean up such an incident on the lake, although lake enforcement officers do try to pull out hazardous materials when possible, Mabry said. Duke Energy also said it will secure and remove large floating hazards to navigation, such as loose docks, piers or watercraft.

“It’ could correct itself in a few days or week,” Mabry said.

Anyone who sees large floating navigation hazards, such as loose structures and watercraft, or debris is asked to call Duke Energy Lake Services at 800-443-5193.