Police prep for busy Memorial Day Weekend on lake, season ahead

Officers from the Virginia Conservation Police patrol Smith Mountain Lake ahead of Memorial Day. (WSET)

BEDFORD, Co. (WSET) -- Despite some rain, the Virginia Conservation Police are out in full force on Smith Mountain Lake.

Memorial Day Weekend marks the start of the busiest season for the officers on Smith Mountain Lake. They said they are expecting more people, so they will make more patrols to keep everyone safe.

They said their busiest season starts this weekend and ends around labor day. With all the extra traffic, officials said there's potential for drownings, boating accidents or boat failure.

One of the main things officers look out for is people operating their boats under the influence. They said too many drinks can quickly turn deadly on the lake.

"Individuals being intoxicated while operating a motor boat, it has lead to fatalities in the past and us being out here on patrol helps reduce the possibility of accidents occurring," Brett Clawson, Conservation Police, said.

Officers also look out for boating safety practices.

The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries said there must be one life jacket for each person on the boat. Those under 13 must be wearing their life jacket at all times, unless they are below deck or in an enclosed cabin.

They said this has been the difference between life and death in many situations.

Despite any rain chances the conservation police will still be out here on Smith Mountain Lake, patrolling. They said they want to be sure that everyone can come out to the lake and have a good time and also make it back home safely.

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