Debris, fast-moving water keeps boats off local lakes

Debris, fast-moving water keeps boats off local lakes


by TONY BURBECK / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Email | Follow: @TonyWCNC

Posted on July 10, 2013 at 5:46 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jul 10 at 9:05 PM

LAKE WYLIE, N.C. -- Debris in fast-moving water is keeping some boaters off local lakes.

Duke Energy says the amount of debris is not as bad as it was several days ago, but the amount of water and its speed are enough to warrant caution.

Russell Smith put a boat in Lake Wylie three times Wednesday. It comes with the job working for Boat Sales of Lake Wylie and trying to sell a pontoon to Scott and Marilyn Wetherbee, who live on Lake Norman.

Smith's test drives double as lookouts for debris. Smith says he has encountered way too much lately with recent rain bloating the Catawba River system and flushing debris downstream.

"There's trees, branches, wheels, tires. I mean big tractor tires out there floating," Smith said about what ended up in his yard since he also lives on Lake Wylie.

On boats?

"Trees out there floating with the branches on them, everywhere-- you can't go fast down the lake, if you do, you're going to tear your boat up," he said.

That's why Wetherbee wasn't driving -- at least not yet.

"I'm not too concerned about it, the guy who is driving the boat is the guy who is going to be nervous, I haven't bought it yet, so it's not going to cost me anything," Wetherbee said with a laugh.

Smith says what you can see isn't the biggest concern. Instead, it's what you can't see just below the surface.

"I've seen limbs up and a log that big around underneath it. You don't know what it is."

Smith says that's why boaters needing repairs are coming to his shop, too.

"Had one with a broken drive shaft." 

Another had a broken propeller.

Tons of debris underneath and against a bridge on Burris Road over Turkey Creek in York County prompted the South Carolina Department of Transportation to close the bridge until it can be inspected and the debris removed.

The Lake Norman Marine Commission says it has no reports of damage to boats or docks, and water levels there are receding.