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Drought Leaves Dangers For Boats On California Lakes And Rivers

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Boaters may have to deal with more than just some extra closures and lower speed limits on the water during California's drought.

The low water levels are causing hazards that some boaters aren't paying attention to, keeping local repair shops busier than they normally would be this early in the summer.

Norris Tettey and his buddies launched their evening on the Sacramento River undaunted by how the water looks or the dangers posted by all the underwater rocks and branches closer to the surface than usual.

In fact, he showed us how he's already damaged his boat this season.

Repair shops including Buck's Outboard are seeing those kinds of problems and worse these days.

"We're seeing a lot more prop damage this year," said Lenny Lapinta. "There's hidden dangers and people have got to be more careful."

In fact, the California Department of Parks and Recreation found in 2014 there was a 59 percent increase in collisions with fixed objects from a year before, and a 23 percent increase in boats running aground.

At Garcia Bend Park, Francisco Gonzales says he's well aware of the higher risks the drought brings.

"There's rocks and debris all over the place," he said. "Just got to watch out."

Folsom Lake is currently at 413 feet, but if it drops below 400 feet, state parks will reduce the boating speed limit.

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