Bedford County Sheriff’s Office prepares for summer season on Smith Mountain Lake

Published: May. 26, 2022 at 4:58 PM EDT
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SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE, Va. (WDBJ) - The weather is warming up, which means it’s that time of year again.

The boats at Smith Mountain Lake will soon be cruising the waters.

Captain Shannon Zimmerman with the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office says they’ve been preparing to do multiple things this summer.

“Any assistance that someone would need out here on the lake, whether it’s an emergency or whether it’s a broken down boat that they just need assistance and can’t get to anybody, but it’s also the enforcement side of it,” said Zimmerman.

And that’s where deputies like Heath Farren come into play. Farren is entering his third season of patrolling the waters. He says there are a couple problems the sheriff’s office usually encounters.

“People riding on the bow of their boat, so typically a pontoon has like a front gate on the boat. People will be standing in the front of it. The second most common thing is wake speed and no-wake zones,” said Farren.

These are safety issues that need to be followed. Ignoring them can put you in a position to have blue lights pull up next to you.

“We’ll activate those lights and sirens. It’s very similar to a vehicle stop in a car,” said Farren. “They’ll realize we’re pulling towards them and they usually just stop, pull off the throttle and wait for us to approach.”

But everything they do out here is to make sure you and others are safe and can enjoy everything the lake has to offer.

“It’s a big lake. It has a lot of boats out here. A lot of boat traffic during the summer, especially from Memorial Day to Labor Day it picks up a lot,” said Zimmerman. “So, just trying to make sure everybody is safe and having a good time.”

Zimmerman tells WDBJ7 they’ve been doing training with other departments to get up to date on things like laws and boating techniques.

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