Local News

Low Water Keeps Labor Day Boaters On Shore

Posted September 3, 2007

— A Labor Day on the lake seemed the perfect ending to the last summer holiday weekend, but low water levels posed dangers to boaters at Kerr Lake.

The water in the lake has dropped 7 feet, forcing the closure of two of the seven boating ramps on the North Carolina side of the lake.

Barry Norton said he and his family were concerned about low levels at the lake at least two weeks ago.

"It's much lower now, so I'm almost hesitant to go out," Norton said.

Although there have been no accidents reported so far, wildlife officials are encouraging that caution in boaters on Kerr Lake.

"If people who are putting in at the ramps that are open, if they get out there, they actually could hit the shoals," said Eddie Vaughan, a wildlife-resource officer. "They could hit some points that have become more shallow than normal."

Signs placed around Kerr Lake warned of danger, low water and closed boat ramps, prompting many boaters to stay on shore.

"No, I'm not putting mine in. I leave it right here," boater Gary Khun said. "I got a pontoon boat. I'm not going to take that chance."

"You got a lot of stumps on up the lake. You got some shallows up there," boater Jerry Abbot said. "I don't really know it that good, so I'm staying out of it."

Several boaters said their propellers were damaged on the bottom of the lake.

If rains do not relieve the drought soon, wildlife officials predicted more areas of the lake could start to dry up.

"Eventually, ... if it got low enough, I think that most of the ramps would be shut down," Vaughn said.

Vaughn urged boaters to pay attention to the signs and exercise extra caution while on the water. Boaters should also avoid the shallows and stay inside the channel markers.

Anyone on the water should wear life jackets at all times.


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  • walkej2003 Sep 4, 2007

    Get a map and learn to read it! You can learn trick called -
    ready for this? NAVIGATION!
    WHOOOO - HOOO! Go have a good time - worst part is the stinky shoreline due to dead shellfish
    Don't let the dodo "journalists" sensationalism scare you off!

  • wakebrdrnc Sep 4, 2007

    It's funny you guys think because you hit spots that are over 100 feet you are fine. I know several spots on Kerr Lake that even when water is at full pool you can hit rocks the size of VW Beetles. Falls Lake has spots that are 50 feet deep still. Yet people hit things. Harris is not so great. The ramps are almost out of the water. It all boils down to knowing what you are doing and where things are on the lake. Now is the best time ever to be on the water. This is when you should be out to see what is out there. You would be amazed at what you learn about the lake and what areas you should not be in even when there is no drought.

  • olive91988 Sep 4, 2007

    Kerr Lake should be fine. Like a previous poster mentioned it is very deep, last year we passed over several spots exceeding 100 feet in depth. We have not been to Kerr yet this year, but we are DEFINITELY staying OUT of Falls Lake, it is very, very low. We have ruined a propeller in the drought conditions there 2 or 3 years ago, hitting 'something', a tree stump or rock. Jordan has some low spots, have to know where they are to avoid them, but generally the main part of Jordan is fine. Also Harris Lake should be fine as well. It was built to cool the reactor and must be maintained at a certain level.

  • wakebrdrnc Sep 4, 2007

    At Gaston you will never have to worry since it only fluctuates a foot up or down. Kerr is marked very well and no one should have any problems. We still ride at Falls almost everyday as well.

  • shine Sep 4, 2007

    It is the folks that don't know the lake like you that will get hurt. Stumps and shoals are not for the inexperienced or the experienced that are not familiar with the area.

    There does not seem to be alot of relief in sight.

    I have never been on Kerr - Gaston is another story - there are places to run aground when the lake is full.

    Everyone be careful.... it is too easy to get hurt in these conditions.

  • reality_check Sep 4, 2007

    You've got to be kidding me! I've been all over that lake every weekend this summer and haven't had any problems. As long as you know what you're doing you shouldn't have a problem. Kerr is much deeper than Jordan, Falls or Gaston even now. I passed over a place today that was 90' deep on Kerr.