Keeping Boats Safe on Lake Norman

You’ve seen the CMPD lake patrol boats on Lake Norman. They consistently patrol all parts of the lake keeping boaters and swimmers safe and in compliance with all laws and regulations. But do you know the real details and history about the CMPD lake patrol?

“We are super proud of the job that the CMPD lake patrol does to keep so many people and so many miles of lake safe for all,” said Lowry Hobbs of Westport Marina. “These lake patrol officers work so many hours year-round and we appreciate their dedication and hard work to keep Lake Norman the safest and best lake in the Carolinas!”CMPD lake patrol on Lake Norman.

The CMPD Lake Patrol

The CMPD Lakes Enforcement Unit was developed in the early 1980’s in response to rapid development and increased recreational use of the three lakes that border Western Mecklenburg County, Lake Norman, Lake Wylie and Mountain Island Lake.

These lakes are part of the Catawba chain of lakes developed by Duke Power Company between 1904 and 1963 for the purpose of producing power for Charlotte-Mecklenburg and the surrounding metropolitan areas. These lakes have a combined surface area of over 48,000 acres and total over 900 miles of shoreline. This is more than the North and South Carolina coasts combined!

The primary patrol boats currently assigned to the lakes are custom-built 22-foot Sea Ark enclosed cabin type boats. They are fully equipped with the latest in navigation and communication electronics for year round emergency response in almost any weather conditions. The unit also utilizes several smaller trailer able boats that can be easily deployed on any of the lakes, as they may be needed, including several Wave Runners provided through the Yamaha Law Loan Program. They are also used for directed patrols of high traffic areas such as marinas and waterfront parks.

Officers of the Lakes Enforcement Unit receive specialized training in Marine Law Enforcement tactics and North Carolina Boating laws, as well as Boating Skills and Seamanship, and Water Safety. Members of the unit actively patrol state waters in their jurisdiction for safety and registration violations, as well as responding to calls for service that are water accessible.

Full time officers are also state certified Emergency Medical Technicians/ Defibrillator Technicians and are responsible for providing Emergency Medical Response for any medical emergencies that occur on the water. This added EMS responsibility is unique to this unit.

The Lakes Enforcement Division of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police, is a year-round, full time enforcement division. Lakes Enforcement Officers are charged with the responsibility of boater safety, education, and enforcement of the Navigational Laws of the State of North Carolina, as well as local ordinances and Federal Laws that apply to these inland waters. All Officers are EMT certified and the unit is equipped with a defibrillator and all emergency support equipment. Officers use the latest in technology to serve the lake community and respond to all medical emergencies on the water, providing an advanced level of care.

Citizens on Patrol with CMPD at Lake Norman.

“The police department has formed a Citizens on Patrol (COP) Lake Volunteer Unit of community members to help maintain safety on the water and shorelines of our lakes,” said Hobbs.  “If you can contribute a minimum of 16 hours of service per month with a minimum of 6 months service, the opportunity to serve your community and obtain rewarding and enriching experiences is here!”

In the meantime, we hope that you will visit us here at Westport Marina in the gorgeous and popular southwest section of Lake Norman in Denver, NC. You’ll love our boat rentals, superior boat service and our delicious food and drinks offered down at Nate’s Snack Bar on our docks. Call us at 704-483-5172 or email us to rent a boat or ask us a question. We look forward to seeing you on Lake Norman!