Army Corps of Engineers prepare for large Memorial Day crowds at Thurmond Lake

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Thurmond Lake, South Carolina – While the weather kept many people away from the lake on Sunday… Monday’s forecast is looking a lot better.

If you plan to enjoy Memorial Day on the water, WJBF News Channel 6’s Stefany Bornman has everything you need to know to safely enjoy the day.

Memorial Day marks the start of the summer vacation season. For Army Corps of Engineers Park Rangers that also means working double time to make sure that while everyone is out having fun, on the water, they also stay safe.

Two drownings at Thurmond Lake this year is 2… too many for the Army Corps of Engineers Park Rangers. In an effort to keep up with the big crowds that are expected on Monday, extra Park Rangers are on the clock this weekend. The Park Rangers are doing extra beach patrols and making sure people are playing by the rules.

While the weather kept many people away from the lake on Sunday… Monday’s forecast is looking a lot better.

“In general we are just looking for people to swim with a buddy. Do not swim across coves that can be really dangerous,” said Army Corps of Engineers Recreation Chief Ranger Chrissy Alford.

As rain from Bonnie moved through the C.S.R.A. on Sunday the water was rougher than normal and the movement made it cloudy. So as a precaution Park Rangers asked boaters to avoid going out and being that it’s hard to see through the water unknown obstructions can easily harm swimmers.

“Avoid diving in or jumping into an area that you haven’t been in. The rains the water it can move stuff around. It can move logs.” John Benjamin, Army Corps of Engineers Park Ranger, told WJBF News Channel 6.

While the Army Corps of Engineers promotes water safety year round, during holiday weekends they use positive reinforcement to encourage good behavior. “Let’s say we have a group of kids out in the water. We see that they are wearing one of our loaner life jackets. Going up to them telling them it’s good to wear it. Why they should wear it.” Benjamin said.

If you do forget your life vest at home. All of the beaches have loaner life vest that you can borrow, put on and enjoy the rest of your lake day. “We also have loaner programs out of our gate houses,” Alford told WJBF News Channel 6.

While some people may want to enjoy a cocktail no alcohol is allowed on any Army Corps of Engineers owned beach.

If you find yourself or someone else in trouble there is a way to help while Park Rangers arrive. “We tell them to reach out with something. If they can reach out the person and get the person and get the person to grab on to it,” said Alford.

Again, the Army Corps of Engineers Park Rangers want to remind people loaner life vest are located on all the beaches and they want to encourage people to use them.

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