By Shelby Stewart
Brandon Twp.-Boaters on an area lake will be a little safer this summer.
Last month Oakland County Sheriff’s Office began regular patrols on Bald Eagle Lake and will continue to do so through the rest of the boating season.
“We’re not out there to ruin anyone’s summer,” said Oakland County Sheriff’s Office Brandon substation commander Lt. Greg Glover. “There’s been a disregard for safety on the lake. Longtime residents have said they lost their ability to enjoy the lake.”
The Bald Eagle Lake Association set up a contract with the Sheriff’s office due to recklessness on the lake, endangering safety and lack of marine safety knowledge.
“There’s kids out there on jet skis with no life preservers,” said Glover. “We had one incident with jet skis with significant injuries that we had to go out on the lake for.”
The incident Glover cited involved three young persons on personal water crafts that crashed on May 27. The subjects were reportedly playing “chicken” and spraying each other with water kicked up by their personal watercrafts, when they collided at the south end of Bald Eagle Lake. The collision resulted in one of the operators receiving an injury to one of his legs which required medical attention. Both suspects were cited for Reckless Operation, Operating without a Boaters Safety Certificate and Operating without a PFD.
“We’re not out there because of drugs on that lake,” said Glover. “We don’t write everyone tickets unless they’re flat out warranted.”
He said that over last weekend, there were 35 contacts with boat owners, only one of which was a ticket. The ticket involved a young person on a personal water craft without a life jacket. Another issue he cited was alcohol on the lake.
“You can go out on the lake and drink, but you cannot operate the vehicle under the influence of alcohol,” he said. “Have someone who is not intoxicated to drive the boat.”
The lake is accessible to more than just residents, though the access is limited.
“We want to make the lake safe, bring it around to where people can enjoy the lake again,” he said. “No one is exempt from laws just because you’re on a private lake. Policing your own lake doesn’t work.”
In order to avoid incidents, Glover suggests everyone update their registration and check out boaters saftey laws.
“The issues on that lake, for the most part, have been a select few,” he said. “We have been contacted by many residents of that lake thanking us for being out there.”