MOUNTAIN HOME, Ark. – Bull Shoals and Norfork lakes are open for business as visitors from the region plan for a fun Memorial Day holiday weekend at the lakes.
But Army Corps of Engineers officials caution visitors that high lake levels have made boating and swimming more hazardous. Officials advise swimmers, boaters and anglers to prepare for these conditions.
Some boat launch ramps and parking facilities are inaccessible because of the high lake level.
Bull Shoals parks with partial closures are: Beaver Creek, Buck Creek, Highway 125, and Tucker Hollow.
Bull Shoals parks currently closed are: River Run and Theodosia.
Norfork parks with partial closures are: Bidwell Park, Cranfield, Robinson Point, and Quarry.
Norfork parks currently closed are: Henderson, Pigeon Creek, Tecumseh and Udall.
When you are on a lake, no matter how high the water, be sure to wear a life jacket. You should also remember to use the boat’s kill switch and slow down to watch for submerged debris.
Use caution when launching because high water can make ramps tricky. Be patient if others take a little longer than normal. When boating near the shore or in coves, go slow to avoid underwater obstacles such as signposts, picnic tables, trees, stumps and other obstructions that are normally on dry ground.
Corps rangers urge everyone to obey boating laws, for your safety. The rangers point out that more than half of all people who drown consume alcohol before their accident, so skip alcohol if you plan to be in or on the water.
Rangers offer the following additional boating and swimming tips:
* Wear a life jacket.
* Check your tow vehicle, trailer and boat are in working condition.
* Check all safety equipment.
* File a float plan with a friend.
* Check the weather before launching.
* Don’t swim for a boat that is drifting away; get another boater to retrieve it.
* Take a safe boating course.
* Post a sharp lookout and add even more care at night.
* Your best defense is to learn to swim.
* When in doubt, wear a life jacket.
* Never swim alone.
* Never rely on toys like inner tubes or water wings.
* Never dive into lakes from cliffs or ledges.
* Lakes are big; don’t overestimate your swimming skills.
* Swim only in designated areas.
* Watch your children -- have a “Designated Child Watcher.”
For more information about water safety, visit the Little Rock District Website at www.swl.usace.army.mil or check out the district’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/littlerockusace.