Reporter/Lynchburg Bureau Chief
6:22 PM EDT, September 3, 2012
Dan Kennedy and his family spend most of their time on dry land, which is why they're extra careful when they come to Smith Mountain Lake.
"It's fundamentally important, because it can take just a few seconds for things to go wrong," said Kennedy, who lives in Greensboro, but visits the lake several times a year.
Those vacations almost always include time on a boat, so Kennedy is making sure his children know boating etiquette.
"My oldest son is taking a boating course, and has been licensed to drive both the boat and the jet ski," Kennedy said.
People at the lake are being extra cautious, after two children drowned there this summer.
The latest incident happened Sunday, when a six-year-old died near a dock in Goodview. Deputies say the boy wasn't wearing a life jacket.
"We push heavily that anyone under the age of 13 should be wearing a life jacket," said Bridgewater Marina owner, Roy Enslow.
Enslow's business puts a strong emphasis on safety. Everyone who rents a boat or jet ski is required to watch a safety video.
After the video, workers at the marina give boaters a "pop quiz," to make sure they remember the rules.
"If you keep repeating the same things, and make sure you drive home the same things, it's going to increase people's awareness," said Enslow.
Even if you're a frequent customer, the video and quiz are mandatory every time you rent.
"Everyone needs to understand that, unlike operating a motor vehicle, there are certain things you need to be aware of out on the water," said Enslow, who wants families to be aware around the water, too.
He offers a special incentive for kids. Every child that's spotted wearing a life vest at the marina gets free life saver candy.
It's one more way to emphasize safety, at a place where things can turn dangerous in an instant.
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