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Lake Norman community kicking off boating season with safety in mind

If you're planning to hit the water this summer, you'll want to think about plans for emergencies ahead of time.

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. — With the weather warming up, more people are getting their boats and hitting the lakes in the Charlotte area.

“Anytime you are on the water, it is a memorable experience,” said Eva Smith, a Pineville resident.

The Lake Norman community kicked off the boating season at Blythe Landing with safety in mind.

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First responders, coast guard members, and safety organizations came together for the “Love Where You Lake” event to remind lake enthusiasts how to stay safe off the dock.

“Just working together and creating a culture and a community that people want to inspire others to make that decision to throw a life jacket on when they jump in the water,” said Michael Hauser, a volunteer with the Cornelius Police Department.

Lake patrol officer George Brinzey said there were nine boat-related drownings last year that could have been prevented if a floatation device or life jackets were used.

“That is going to save your life, it is like wearing a seatbelt in the car. If you don’t have it on, it is not going to work. You won’t have time to put on your jacket,” said Brinzey.

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He recommends taking a boater safety and education course. He adds boat drivers should drive at a safe speed, watch for other boaters, and protect your body in the sun.

“Water is something you have to stay on top of, dehydration happens, and you don’t even realize it,” said Brinzey. “You must wear sunscreen. The sun will absolutely wear you out.”

14-year-old Cade Redmond is working his booth and sharing his "Float it Forward" campaign. He is pushing for a law to require life rings to be added on public access and private docks & boat ramps after a man drowned off his neighbor’s dock last year.

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“The man who tried to save him said 'only if I had something to throw to him' and that is how I came up with the idea of the devoted float and life ring, because you never know when you are going to have a problem,” said Redmond.

These are efforts that save lives.

“If we can reach one person through this event, and that one person makes a different decision and that decision was the difference between them making it back to the dock, then we have reached our goal,” said Hauser.

Contact Jesse Pierre at jpierrepet@wcnc.com or follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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