“Our shoreline management team has not identified any troublesome areas due to the water level,” said Alabama Power Company spokeswoman Alyson Fuqua. “And they haven’t received any reports of problem areas.”
Fuqua said lake-goers should still use extra caution getting their boats in and out of areas because the water level is a little lower than usual.
“There will be no additional recreational releases for the holiday weekend,” she said. “We have had to cut back on additional releases due to the dry weather.”
Fuqua said Alabama Power Company will still do minimum mandatory releases.
“Our regimen won’t change until Oct. 1, when the fall drawdown begins,” she said.
Fuqua said the fall drawdown was pushed back a little bit this year.
“The drawdown this year will drop the lake level to the winter pool level of 460 feet,” she said.
Fuqua said last year Alabama Power Company received a variance for a winter pool level of 462 feet.
“We did not ask for a winter pool variance this year,” she said. “The lake is expected to reach winter pool Dec. 31, and stay at that level until April 1, 2012, when we will begin refilling it to summer pool.”
Fuqua said rainfall may affect the timeline.
Additional information regarding lake levels is available at www.alabamapower.com or by calling 1-800-LAKES 11.
The Alabama Power Company website also offers water safety tips.
• The minimum age to operate a vessel or personal watercraft in Alabama is 12 years old.
• Persons operating a vessel or personal watercraft must carry an Alabama operator’s license.
• Each person is required to have a Personal Floating Device (PFD). All children under eight years old must wear a PFD.
• Any person riding a personal watercraft must wear a PFD.
• Some vessels must have a U.S. Coast Guard approved, BC type fire extinguisher. Check regulations.
• Vessels must be equipped with navigation lights when operated between the hours of sunset and sunrise and during periods of limited visibility.
• Water-skiing is permitted from one hour after sunrise to one hour before sunset.
• All vessels towing skiers must have either a mirror with a 78 square inch viewing area or a competent observer at least 12 years old.
• In order to tow a skier, a personal water craft must have two mirrors with a viewing area of 10 square inches each, not mounted on the steering mechanism.
Rules of the Road
• Overtaking/Passing: A vessel overtaking another vessel may pass on either side, but the vessel being overtaken (passed) has the right-of-way.
• Meeting Head On: When meeting another vessel head on, each vessel should keep to the right.
• Crossing: Boat on right has the right-of-way. Slow down and permit it to pass.
• All motorized vessels, sailboats and rental boats must be currently registered.
• All vessels must stay 100 feet away from a “Divers Down” flag.
• When operating in a narrow channel, all vessels will keep to the right of mid-channel.
• Obey all restrictive signs and buoys. Operate at an idle speed around gas docks and loading docks.
• Operators are responsible for any damage caused by their wake.
• All accidents involving death, serious injury or damage in excess of $50 must be reported to the Alabama Marine Police within 10 days.
Beginner and even experienced swimmers should observe these basic safety rules:
• Never swim alone in unsupervised areas. Use the “buddy system” in which you and another swimmer agree to watch one another.
• Don’t dive or jump into unfamiliar water. Shallow water or submerged trees or rocks could cause injury or even paralysis.
• Don’t stay in the water too long, especially when the water is cold.
Contact Elsie Hodnett at firstname.lastname@example.org.