Boaters reminded of lake dangers after 3 drownings

Boaters reminded of lake dangers after 3 drownings

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by GLENN COUNTS / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Email | Follow: @GCountsWCNC

WCNC.com

Posted on September 2, 2013 at 11:40 PM

Updated Friday, May 9 at 12:51 PM

LAKE NORMAN, N.C. -- A Labor Day afternoon on Lake Norman is supposed to be about fun and relaxation.

"It was great. It was a lot of sun, a lot of waves. We had a lot of fun," said Marina Shishkina, a boater.

"It was awesome today. The weather was beautiful, it was supposed to rain but it didn't rain," said Sergey Kopytin.

But Monday on the water was a sobering reminder of how dangerous the lake can be. Three drownings in local waters in three days had many boaters watching recovery efforts while there were out.

Two boaters fell into different parts of Lake Norman on Saturday and Sunday and another person drowned in Wilson Creek in Caldwell County Monday.

"Honestly, I think it kept people a little more safe than they normally would have been. A lot of flashing lights and stuff so they decided they would be on their best behavior," said fellow boater Jeff Blackwell.

Blackwell, his wife Casey, their two boys and a friend caught a glimpse of the search and for that reason decided to make the boys wear life jackets -- even in shallow water.

"We were on the ocean most of the summer and there were 14 drownings in the current in the ocean so we were careful over the summer. So we just kept that up on the lake today," said Casey Blackwell.

They believe the law enforcement presence calmed everyone down Monday.

“I got to be honest with you, I was mindful of what I was in-taking because I knew they were out here,” said Jeff Blackwell.

Kopytin disagreed that everyone was on their best behavior. He said a 15-year-old on a Jet Ski clipped his boat.

"A lot of times it's not the adults, it’s the kids. You can't put a kid -- a 15 or 16 year-old -- on a Jet Ski, give them the right to drive it, do an online license when they hit somebody. Nobody is accountable," said Kopytin.

He’s frustrated because there wasn’t much the Lake Patrol could do once they discovered the suspect was a minor.

But that's the kind of case officers don’t mind investigating. What they don’t want to see is another tragedy.

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