Army Corp urging boaters on Lake Texoma to use caution - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Army Corp urging boaters on Lake Texoma to use caution

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LAKE TEXOMA -- The Army Corp of Engineers is alerting boaters on Lake Texoma ahead of what's expected to be a beautiful weekend.

As temperatures begin to heat up, the Corp is asking lake-goers to use extreme caution because the lay of the land is much different than it was before winter.

Bill Holman usually parks his pontoon boat at a slip he rents on Lake Texoma.

"I'm looking for a ramp so I can get my boat out," Holman said. "I need to get it out to do some work on it."

But getting his boat out of the water is turning out to be the most difficult part of the job.

"None of the ramps are open," Holman said.

Holman says he stopped by three boat ramps in recent days, including the Spillway, which closed in January because of low water levels.

Elevations at Lake Texoma are now at 608-feet. The Corp says it's 6.5 feet below normal for this time of year.

"So definitely some of the lowest levels we've seen in decades," Army Corps project manager  B.J. Parkey.

Looking forward to a warm weekend, a steady stream of people pulled into the Spillway on Friday to get a look -- and snap pictures -- to show how low the lake levels is.

The ramp at the Spillway may be closed but many people who stopped by said they thought it appeared safe, but the Corp says looks are deceiving.

"We have driven down with our boat and backed our trailers in and checked the depth at the end of the ramp and there's not sufficient water depth at the end of the ramp to float a boat," Parkey said.

The Corp is now urging boaters to use caution when launching boats.

They recommend checking with marinas for trouble spots and suggest boaters stay in main river channels.

"Be vigilant. Watch out for sandbars, watch out for protruding rocks, definitely increased exposed shorelines," Parkey said. "Be careful when you launch your boats because the boat ramps are very shallow."

The Corp is also encouraging boaters to use depth finders, something Holman says he intends to upgrade as soon as he can find a ramp safe enough to leave the lake.

Boaters are also being reminded to wear a life jacket, especially with increased safety risks on the lake.  Children younger than 13 years old are required by law to have one on at all times while a vessel is in use.