CASTAIC, Calif. – If you are planning on heading out on the water this summer, remember to follow safety protocols. Officials are warning of the dangers, especially after the death of actress Naya Rivera who accidentally drowned while out on Lake Piru.
Rising temperatures and the need to be socially distant are bringing out more people to the bodies of water here in SoCal. An avid boater and aquatics manager on Castaic Lake offered some tips on how to stay safe while also having a day of fun.
Steve Hayutin has been enjoying Castaic Lake since he was in high school.
“We have beautiful sun, no clouds, always good weather. If you look around what gets better than this,” said Hayutin.
The avid boater says there is no better way to spend his time, but his years of experience help him navigate the waters, which is not as easy as it may seem.
Tracy Hild the Lake Aquatics Manager explains how important it is to not only have fun, but remain diligent while controlling a piece of machinery. This is especially important for those who are novice boaters, only renting for the day, which you can do without a license or training.
“Our biggest issues of tows or safety are rental boats. The biggest thing is to know the rules, know where you are at, know how to drive your boat, and know the surroundings around you,” said Hild.
But if you are someone who boats often, Hild says it is state law to have a boater card if you are under 35.
“Pick up one of these books and it has all the educational materials you need to do. You take the tests in the back and they give you a pass or fail on the test and then you pay for the $10 boater card and its good for life,” said Hild.
If you hop in the water here or anywhere else, it is important to wear a life vest and never leave the boat alone unmanned, unless it is anchored because it will drift. In just the 30 seconds we were talking, a life vest floated by behind the boat.
"I think people overestimate their swimming abilities and they will struggle to get back without their life jacket on," said Hild.
While swimming, also be aware of the wind and wake. Hild says the wind can make strong waves that make it difficult to swim and if you notice when another boat drives by, the boat rocks and people have fallen off.
“Waves can come up to 3 to 5 feet that swamp boats easily and then you are in trouble,” said Hild.
The Lake Aquatics Manager has been on this lake for years and knows the beauty, but wants to make sure visitors stay safe on any body of water in SoCal.
“Boating is fun and it’s out there for recreation, so you have to realize there are hazards you need to be aware of,” said Hild.
As we make our way back to the dock, Hayutin knows how lucky he is to live nearby but even after all these years he doesn’t forget how dangerous it could be.
“Make sure everybody has fun and has a good time, but mainly I don’t want anyone to get hurt,” said Hayutin.
So, pay attention, follow the rules, and wear your life vest while enjoying your time out on the lakes in SoCal.