ST. ALBANS, WV (WOWK) — As Labor Day Weekend gets kicked off, many people in the Mountain State are ready to start their engines and hit the water.
But there may be some safety concerns this weekend after Tropical Storm Ida made its way through.
“A river like this, not so much fun. I mean you look at it and it’s kind of like chocolate milk and a little dangerous for what you don’t see,” said Lt. Warren Goodson with the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (DNR).
This weekend on the Ohio and Kanawha Rivers, boaters can see things like debris and sticks flooded throughout the waterways. This is all from smaller connected creeks which experienced flash flooding.
“I saw a tree floating down the river the size of the dock,” said Brady Peck of St. Albans.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, West Virginia has seen record numbers of new boaters on the water. The West Virginia DNR wants to remind those new to boating to have life jackets, buoys, and fire extinguishers on board…after this week especially.
“You may not see that current, but that current is moving way faster than it normally does. So not only recreational boating, swimming off the boat, or just wade fishing or swimming at the beach,” said Lt. Goodson.
The most important message the West Virginia DNR wants to stress this weekend is to have a sober skipper.
“Boating under the influence is extremely dangerous. You are responsible for the people on that boat. Make sure they have a good time and make sure they get to the dock safely,” said Lt. Goodson.
The West Virginia DNR sees on average 16 boating accidents a year. This year they have only seen four, which is great, and want to encourage boaters to keep safety the number one priority.