Lake drownings on the rise, swimming safety tips here

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – With a busy summer recreation season anticipated, Duke Energy encourages a focus on swimming safety for lake visitors.

“The number of drownings, especially children and teenagers, is tracking way ahead of the typical number for this time of year,” said Scott Jolley, public safety and recreation planning project manager for Duke Energy. “Hot, clear weather is bringing a lot of folks to the lakes to cool off, and we thought they could use a reminder of ways to stay safe when they’re swimming.”

Captain Michael Hatley, of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, recommends that swimmers stay out of main channels.

“Swim in the quieter coves, away from boat traffic. Sunlight reflecting off the water makes it difficult for boaters to spot swimmers,” Hatley said. “Staying out of channels keeps you away from higher boat wakes too.”

Additional safety tips

  • Life jackets are essential for water safety, especially for young or inexperienced swimmers.
  • Take swimming lessons. (The American Red Cross offers swimming safety tips and learn-to-swim courses here:
  • Never swim alone.
  • Cold temperatures, currents, underwater hazards, and boating traffic can make lakes and rivers particularly dangerous.
  • Since the bottom is not visible in the lakes and the depth can change unexpectedly, walk in and explore the bottom with your feet before jumping into the water.
  • Remember that certain health conditions, fatigue and temperature changes can cause cramping.
  • Avoid alcohol use, which can impair swimming skills, reduce your ability to stay warm and cause dehydration.
  • Keep a life line with a throw ring nearby to throw to a swimmer who appears to be in trouble. Consider taking turns on the shoreline so there is always someone available to throw out the lifeline.

Real-time lake level information, scheduled flow release times and public access locations are available 24/7 at, which is configured for smart phones. For questions, please call Duke Energy Lake Services at 1-800-443-5193.

For Duke Energy access area information and locations, visit