SHAVER LAKE, Calif. (KGPE/KSEE) – This Labor Day weekend, crowds of people hit the surrounding lakes and waterways throughout the Central Valley.
The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue Team did not take the day off to make sure everyone celebrated safely.
At Shaver Lake, many families and friends gathered to try to escape the heat in the valley. Officials from the sheriff’s office said this year was busier than past years, both on land and on the water.
“Making sure they have the proper equipment on their boat and their boats are working correctly and they’re abiding by the rules of the waterway,” said Sgt. Jeff Stricker with Fresno County Sheriff’s Office.
As soon as the patrol team hit the water, they were going after a boat not following safety rules, which could’ve jeopardized the safety of those on board.
“One of the main things is, as you saw right now, some people want to recreate Titanic, and hang out on the bow and dangle their feet over and stuff, but that is incredibly dangerous. That can cause a lot of damage. We’ve had several of those, unfortunately,” said Stricker.
This holiday weekend has been busier than in recent years, with more people trying to escape the higher temperatures.
Stricker said this weekend, deputies responded to 20-30 calls just at Shaver Lake, which was higher than usual.
“Especially with the temperatures that we’re experiencing in the Valley, getting in the rivers and lakes and cool off a little bit, they just need to remember to have fun up there but be safe at the same time,” he said.
It’s those high temperatures that brought Dylan Hodet from Clovis to Shaver to enjoy the day with his family.
“Get away from the heat and we went kayaking, kind of just swimming around, wearing the life jackets, not going out too far,” said Hodet.
Swimming rules that Sgt. Stricker continues to stress are making sure the young ones have life jackets and staying out of the water if you can’t swim.
“When things go bad, the most important thing we can get is your location. So, we can get our deputies out there and we can get you some help,” he said.
For boat drivers and owners, Stricker and his team are issuing citations if you do not have a boater ID.
By 2025, it will be standard for everyone who owns a boat to have.