Orange County Advises Residents to Practice Lake Safety During High Water Levels
The Orange County Board of County Commissioners passed a resolution on Sept. 18, 2018 urging operators of all watercraft vessels to slow down in areas 300 feet or less from docks, piers and shorelines. The resolution also encourages property owners to mark submerged docks because of the potential navigational hazards of high water levels.
Due to the unusually high amounts of rainfall that have occurred over the past several months, Orange County is issuing an advisory that current water levels on various lakes are high. Boat docks may become hidden just beneath the surface being a danger to boaters, skiers and wakeboarders. Please avoid these submerged structures that are normally visible during normal water level periods.
High water conditions can also create other hazards. Use caution and follow these safety measures:
- Extra precaution should be taken while swimming, fishing or boating while water levels are high.
- Boating when water levels are high may cause waves that could damage property by eroding shoreline soils and possibly flooding homes along the lakefront.
- Low wake zones mean no hydroplaning. It takes some effort to get a vessel off the water and results in high wakes. Wake height should be no more than one foot.
- Large and heavier boats could create damaging waves even at low speeds. Take extra caution when cruising the lake.
- All watercraft should remain at least 300 feet from the shoreline whenever possible or travel in the center of the lake when approaching vulnerable shorelines. Maintain a slow speed and minimum wake when travelling within 300 feet of the shoreline.
- If you have electrical service near a facility (e.g., piers, outside lighting on seawalls, etc.) on or near the water, have a qualified electrical contractor disconnect the power to this service to avoid injuries and equipment damage.
- Do not touch debris blocking a drainage structure, storm drain or retention pond.
- Be mindful that high water levels may bring wildlife, such as alligators and snakes closer to your home and outside recreational areas.
“We are asking residents to heed this advisory for their own safety and to be good neighbors by minimizing damage to shorelines and the environment until lake levels return to normal,” said David Jones, manager of Orange County’s Environmental Protection Division. “Informational signs in both English and Spanish are being installed at each County-owned or operated boat ramp to advise watercraft operators of the high water conditions, the potential of encountering navigational hazards and encouraging lake safety.”
Residents are encouraged to contact 3-1-1 or visit www.ocfl.net/311 for non-emergency help and information regarding high water levels.
Photo Caption: Randolph Boat Ramp located on Little Lake Conway in Orlando.