Lake Patrol's job doesn't end on Labor Day

- As the sun goes down over Lake Norman, Patrolman Jeremy Sapp gets into his boat, Marine 4, ready to start his shift.

"We want to be out here proactively patrolling all, almost 80 miles of shoreline, that are in Mecklenburg County," Sapp said. 

Sapp is with the Cornelius Police Department's Lake Patrol Division. It is an eight man unit split up into teams of two. He used to patrol the streets. Now his days are spent on the water.

"Different but not that different," Sapp said. 

As the summer comes to a close his job keeps going. His team patrols the water 24/7, 365 days a year.

"There's a boat on the water at all times ready to respond," Sapp said. 

He is looking for any safety violations along with boaters who are in distress or need of help. His primary goal, he says, is to educate and keep people safe. 

"Even though it is fun and you can have a good time it can be dangerous," he said. 

Last year, 658 boaters were killed nationwide, according to the Coast Guard. Alcohol, officials said, is the leading cause of death. 

This summer, like the water Monday, has been calm, according to Sapp. Still, he reminds boaters to take safety courses, stay hydrated and always wear a life jacket. 

"Just try to keep safety in the forefront of your mind," he said. "I think sometimes that's put on the back burner...Focus on safety above all else."

As the sun sets on his third Labor Day on the water, Sapp's shift is just beginning. But his job, like the waves, rolls on.

"All good as of now," he said. "We still have about 11.5 more hours to go so that could all change. But, as far as now, we look pretty good."

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