Is Lake Norman overcrowded with boaters, swimmers?

Sunday was another busy day on Lake Norman. A steady stream of boats and jet skis were being dropped in the water at Blythe Landing in Huntersville. Over the past week several accidents occurred on the lake where people lost their lives.

“Last Friday we were out here fishing and we went over to a new spot and right when we stopped the boat we heard a little scream and a loud thud so we turn around and looked around and a half a mile away all we saw was one boat,” said Philip Blayton as he prepared to take his friends out on his boat.

The crash he heard involved two boats that crashed into one another. Blayton said one of the boats didn’t have any lights on and it was already so dark he couldn’t see it. During the same weekend two jet skis, carrying two passengers each, collided on the lake killing a child and seriously injuring a teenager. Police were also called to the lake when a man drowned attempting to save several swimmers who were struggling to stay above water.

“It’s really devastating and it just makes me more cautious about what I do. I can’t control what other people do but I can control what I do,” said Susan Gordon. She and her husband took their boat out on the lake early in the morning when they said there are less people. She said the lake is beautiful and fun but it can present dangers to boaters when inexperienced motorists are on the lake.

“I actually got thrown from one of the waves last summer and went head first and this saved me big time,” said Daniel Graham. He’d pulled his jet ski to the dock to grab his daughter’s shoes from the car. He said it took a year to recover from injuries he sustained in a jet ski accident. He credits the life vest he was wearing for saving his life.

Blayton takes safety into his own hands making sure that he’s always alert and aware of other people on the lake even if they’re not paying attention. “I always keep my head on a swivel and just look out for other people,” he said.

Boaters who frequent Lake Norman said the number of people on the lake tripled in the last few years, calling many of them inexperienced and saying they lack etiquette and knowledge of right-of-ways.

“Jet skis and other boats just driving too close to shore, driving too close to other boats,” said Blayton.

Gordon echoed his thoughts and said she and her husband avoid the lake on weekend afternoons and holidays when the water becomes too congested. “Speed, poor judgment of distance, too close to other riders, too close to people who are tubing and they’re right behind other tubers. I really think alcohol plays a huge part of it. When you’re in the sun that alcohol triples its effect on you.”

Several boaters that spoke to FOX 46 recommend everyone take a class before getting out on the water.