High water danger for boaters

By Brandi Hodges - bio | email

POCAHONTAS, AR (KAIT) –When the Black River overflowed its banks earlier this month it picked up debris of all shapes and sizes.  That could put a damper on your holiday plans if you plan to go in or on the water.  Arkansas State Parks officials say the high water is covering stumps, limbs, and small trees that are normally visible.

In addition to what was already there, some things are floating down stream with the current.  The water in the Black River has moved through all sorts of places and is still moving very quickly.

Davidsonville Historic State Park is right along the Black River.  After the recent flooding Park Interpreter Krystal Watson said there could be things under the water you aren't expecting.

"All those things that are normally not under water items that were in those places such as logs trees and debris from people's homes that gets into the water," said Watson.

"Submerged logs that will be just under the water line you can run over those with a boat," said Jeff Shell, Assistant Park Superintendent at Lake Charles State Park.

Shell expects the water to be very busy this weekend but also dangerous.       

"There is going to be a lot of traffic out there.  A lot of people will be out there fishing and a lot of people will get in their pontoon boat and go out and cruise around," said Shell.

"If you don't have the proper equipment you can have a big problem you can actually lose your life," said Watson.

While there is always some water covering the boat ramp it's higher than it normally is.  The ramp is currently closed and will stay that way until the water levels go down.  But even though they can't launch from the park, Watson said they have seen some boaters out on the water.

"We had to come and get a guy off the river here recently.  I would not advise it.  The water is going very, very fast," said Watson.

In addition to damaging your boat by hitting something in the water the debris could also be dangerous if you decide to go into the water.

"You have tanks like propane tanks and fuel tanks some of those have been floating off," said Shell.

The representatives from both parks say they want people to have a fun Memorial Day weekend, but say you also need to be safe and you can accomplish that by making good choices on the river.      

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