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Cornelius News

There’s no place like the outdoors for the holidays

Safety is a year-round concern while on the lake.

Dec. 20. By TL Bernthal. The most popular hunting days of the year are around Christmas. And fishing on Lake Norman is also a popular holiday activity.

According to data from the NC Wildlife Resources Commission, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are traditionally the most active hunting days of the year.

Fishing is also popular, the commission says, from the mountains to the coast.

Be safe while fishing, hunting

Lake safety is a hot topic in the Lake Norman region. While lake drownings last year were summertime tragedies, safety is a year-round issue. Nine men died last year in the four counties with shoreline on Lake Norman; Cornelius has the largest amount of shoreline  among any Lake Norman town.

Enjoying the outdoors with friends and family is a great way to spend quality time together, but it’s imperative to not become complacent about safety, especially when using firearms or in a vessel, the commission says in a news release.

“Before you head out the door to hunt or fish, it’s important to make sure you have everything you need for an enjoyable and successful outing on land or on the water.

“Keep safety as your No. 1 priority so you can continue to make memories for many years to come,” said Capt. Branden Jones of the agency’s Law Enforcement Division.

Safety tips

Jones offers these basic safety tips:

—When boating, always wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved personal floatation device.

—Do not consume alcoholic beverages before or during hunting or boating.

—Let someone know your whereabouts and an approximate return time.

—Always practice firearm safety and point the muzzle in a safe direction.

—Be aware of your surroundings, especially when preparing to shoot. Ensure that there aren’t any houses, vehicles or people in front of or behind your target.

—Wear an article of clothing featuring blaze orange when hunting.

On Lake Norman

Cornelius Police Officer George Brinzey recently compiled Lake Norman drowning response statistics from the four counties with shoreline on the lake: Mecklenburg, Iredell, Catawa and Lincoln.

Here’s what he found —

Mecklenburg County:

—A 24-year-old man was riding on the bow of a rental pontoon boat when he tripped and went over the bow and drown in the vicinity of R5 in 14 feet of water.  The victim was not wearing any type of flotation.

—A 58-year-old man jumped off the stern of a jet boat in low light conditions in the vicinity of P2 and drowned. He was not wearing any type of flotation.

—A 28-year-old construction worker swam from the shore and drowned in deep water just off the dock. He was not wearing any type of flotation.

Iredell County:

—A 29-year-old man jumped off a rental pontoon with no flotation and drowned in 35 feet of water.

—A 38-year-old man was on a personal watercraft shooting a video and got too close to a secondary pontoon boat and was overran and killed. He was wearing a life jacket.

—A 70-year-old man was engaged in watersports and was subsequently ran over by the vessel towing him.

—A 71-year-old man was seen in 9 feet deep on the lakebed by his wife who went to the dock to check on him. He was recovered but was pronounced deceased immediately by the fire department.

Lincoln County:

—A man was riding a rental personal watercraft without  wearing a flotation device when he fell off and drowned near M7.

Catawba County:

—A 31-year-old man jumped off a rental pontoon without a flotation device and drowned in 37 feet of water.