Officers Patrolling Smith Mountain Lake

Smith Mountain Lake, VA - Conservation officers are already patrolling Smith Mountain Lake, looking for potential problems this holiday weekend.

They want to remind boaters that anyone age 30 or younger is required to pass a state boater safety education course before operating a boat. On July 1, the law changes and anyone 40 or younger is required to complete that course. The course is required for all ages by 2016. Anyone operating a personal watercraft, or jet ski, must be at least 14 years old and have taken a safety course.

"Most of the seasoned boat owners are aware of it," said Conservation Police Officer John Koloda. "The ones who are kinda out, first-timers, it may be their first experience with us and the law is kind of a learning lesson."

The officers want boaters to be on the lookout for debris in the water, washed downstream after recent heavy rain.

Deputies from the Bedford County Sheriff's Office will also be on Smith Mountain Lake this weekend.