Low water levels dangerous for swimmers

POSTED: Wednesday, June 22, 2011 - 4:04pm
UPDATED: Friday, April 13, 2012 - 8:54am

WACO -- As Waco's water levels decrease, the amount of drowning's in unsafe territories increases.

Sgt. Patrick Swanton said the recent drowning's are unfortunate but there's a general factor in all three cases.

 "The common denominator there, is that our people are in a non-swimming area. Meaning that it's not safe. It's legal to swim anywhere in the lake but it's not a designated area," said Sgt. Swanton.

James Morris, a park ranger, said water levels have gone down almost three feet below normal, which is shrinking those designated areas.

"The lower the lake level gets, those barriers and buoys will not be moved. If the lake is dry up under those buoys, then there are no more designated swimming areas," said Morris.

Without those swimming areas it's easy for people to ignore the warning signs.

And because of the shallow waters, people think they can swim just beyond the yellow rope, but it's too dangerous park rangers said.

"This is not a swimming pool bottom, this is a lake bottom. There are gonna be drop offs, there are gonna be areas to where, it just may have a steep decline there," said Morris.

Morris said they can't improve the markers but they are taking steps now to warn people hanging out at the lake.

"Well we have increased patrols, we're increasing our signage, making people aware of what happened in these areas; that people have drowned here and we don't want anymore," said Morris.

Morris said the drowning's are hard on them but they have to take them as lessons learned.

"You always take parts of it home with you. You wouldn't be human if you didn't, if it didn't affect you. But, we're learn, we learn and we train to work with this and work through it," said Morris.

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