Officers Patrol Crowded Charlotte-Area Lakes Over Memorial Day Weekend

MECKLENBURG CO., N.C. – This holiday weekend, local lakes are packed with boaters eager to get back out now that most COVID restrictions are lifted.

If you’re going, expect increased patrols on the water.

“We just try to teach the kids to have fun and be safe,” says boater Jacob Bright.

Bright, from Forest City, brought his family to Copperhead Island at Lake Wylie on Saturday.

“We try to find areas that aren’t so busy in the main channel and try to find coves and things like that will kinda get us in there where it’s not a lot of choppy water,” Bright says.

Wildlife officers say they’ve seen a 10 percent increase in boat registrations this year… proof people are eager to get out.

“We’re gonna go out to the sandbar, we’re gonna have some sandwiches, some cold beer,” says Steele Creek resident Joe Walker.

Officers say they’ll be out, make sure people aren’t driving boats if they’ve had too much to drink.

“We encourage people to have fun this weekend. But also, to have a safe and sober driver while they’re out there,” says N.C. Wildlife Officer Ty Andrus.

Officers say a quarter of fatalities on the lake are alcohol-related and because people weren’t wearing life jackets.

“A lot of our drownings, the people had access to life jackets but they didn’t have them on, so we really push people to have a life jacket on while they’re on the water,” Andrus says.