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Central Texas officials urge caution on the water amid low levels

Waco-Temple-Bryan KWTX-TV logo Waco-Temple-Bryan KWTX-TV 7/3/2022 Alexander Fulton
Lower water levels means more risks boaters need to watchout for this holiday weekend. © Provided by Waco-Temple-Bryan KWTX-TV Lower water levels means more risks boaters need to watchout for this holiday weekend.

WACO, Texas (KWTX) – The Fourth of July weekend is just starting to set sail.

Lake Waco officials expect to see even more people on the water this weekend, even with the lake sitting at around six and a half feet below normal water levels.

Lower water levels means more risks boaters need to watchout for this holiday weekend.

“If you see a stump field, just because you can’t see all the stumps that are out there, doesn’t mean they won’t get after you,” Jarod Briscoe, lead park ranger for Lake Waco, said.

Hitting a stump could cause a prop strike, which slows or even stops the boat’s propellers. No one is immune to risks like prop strikes.

“Even the people that know the folks that are used to coming out to Lake Waco,” Briscoe said. “They’ve been coming out for years and they really know the lake well, they need to be cautious.”

Steps to avoid hitting debris in the water include looking at a depth finder and slowing down in shallow areas.

Game warden Michael Ferguson said more patrols will be out this weekend to keep increased crowds safe on the water and on their boats.

Boaters should remember that patrols could stop them at any time for a boat inspection.

“We look for life vests, water cushions, fire extinguishers, whistles,” Ferguson said. “It’s all part of the required equipment.”

Officials don’t want to deter anyone from coming out on the water this weekend, even with increased risks.

“You just have to be more mindful of where you are, what your surroundings are,” Ferguson said.

Mobile apps like Aqua Map can help boaters see depth contour, which is a way to show unusual islands or branches from low lake levels.

Still, officials say the best way to avoid damage to boats is by always keeping an eye out for anything unusual in the water.

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