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Lake Hazards Include Water Levels & Missing Buoys

ARLINGTON (CBS 11 NEWS) - Lake Arlington has all the normal warning signs for boaters on the water like buoys.  But conditions are far from normal on the lake.

"You see how dirty this water is," Mark Bermingham, a frequent visitor to the lake said . "Six inches of water and you don't know what's under there."

Drought conditions exposed shoals in the middle of coves and formed small islands in the middle of the lake.  But recent rains have put a thin layer of disguising water over the hazards.  Berminngham recalled a boater who ran onto on the underwater shoals.

"He went out there chasing some sand bass and ran up there on his pontoon boat," he said.  "Very dangerous. Very dangerous."

Jori Gee ran his jet ski into an unseen sand bar. "I just kind of stopped and skidded for a second and came to a stop," he said.

Lake Arlington is more dangerous than most other lakes because even when full its considered a shallow lake.  And right now, the lake is six feet low.

"The deepest channels are maybe 12 to 15 feet," said Lake Services Manager Michael Debrecht.  "So if its 6 foot low you're talking, you could be walking part of that lake.  You're only waist deep."

Arlington has red buoys warning boaters there are dangers ahead in the shallow parts of the lake.  There art maps showing where boating hazards are and signs reminding people of constantly changing lake conditions.  But its not enough to impress upon some people just how dangerous the low water level is.

"They go out, unaware of some stumps in some areas or sand bars in other areas and that's what kind of causes some trouble some times," Debrecht said.

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