Boaters take full advantage of the Labor Day weekend and head to Lake Pleasant
MARICOPA COUNTY, Ariz. - As temperatures are in the triple digits in Arizona during the Labor Day weekend, many are looking to cool off, and some are choosing to head to Lake Pleasant.
The lake has been busy with rescues and body recoveries this year, and the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Lake Patrol is emphasizing the need for life jackets.
Chad Case, the manager of Pleasant Harbor Marina says the first day of the three-day weekend has already seen thousands of boaters, but it’s not quite as busy as some other holiday weekends.
"We start to see definitely the end of the rush. This is kind of the last hoorah. Kids have already gone back to school, college kids have already started school. People that are already in town, this is kind of the last big holiday to be out on the lake," Case said on Sept. 3.
And he's right. Boaters took full advantage of the long holiday weekend.
"It was great," a boater said. "We’re actually going to be out here today, tomorrow and Monday."
As always, safety is the main concern for those working at the lake and those out on the water enjoying it.
"Very important, and actually, there wasn’t a lot of people out there, so it was pretty safe," a boater named Jeff said.
Marina employees want everyone to remember a few things. Don’t drink if you’re the one operating the boat, don’t swim behind a running boat because you could inhale carbon monoxide and remember your life jackets.
"This is a deep lake. Water isn’t forgiving, so respect it. If you’re gonna get in the water, have a flotation device with you, on you, and just be safe," Case said.
Make sure you’re also protecting your four-legged family members on the water as well.
"I can’t monitor what other people do on their boats and stuff, but as far as I’m concerned, I make sure that everybody has a life vest, including my animals," a boater said.
Many people in Arizona learned to swim in a pool where if you swim 10 feet one way or another, you’ll be able to reach the side and take a break if you need it. Of course, that's not the case on the lake.
Don’t underestimate the water and wear your life jacket, first responders advise.
Deadly incidents at Lake Pleasant
Twenty-year-old Neria Aranbayev was found on the night of April 24, about 21 feet below the surface of Lake Pleasant. On May 1, an unidentified man's body was found 25-feet underwater near Jet Ski Point. On May 8, an 83-year-old woman was thrown from a boat on May 8 and died. Her name was Rosario Benitez.
On May 15, deputies responded to reports of a possible drowning near Sunset Ridge at Lake Pleasant. They believe an 18-year-old man was swimming, went underwater, never came back up and his body was found soon after.
Rescue crews responded to a serious incident that turned deadly at Lake Pleasant for the fifth weekend in a row, this time with a woman having her leg amputated during an incident involving a boat propeller, the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office on May 21.
A man went underwater in Lake Pleasant on July 16 and authorities say two days later that his body was found.