Lonely lakes see start of Fresno County Sheriff's summer boat patrols

FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- Summer is coming in with a whimper here in the Central Valley. Local waterways are a lot lonelier than they usually are during the Memorial Day weekend.

Gray clouds crept across the sky above Pine Flat Lake and the water below stayed unusually serene.

"It's the craziest Memorial Day weekend I've seen up here," said Hillary Boos, of Sanger. "Usually it's so hot. I love the rain but it's kind of a bummer if you want to be on the boat."

The unofficial first day of summer feels and looks a lot more like winter, but this will eventually be a busy summer here on the lake and as the season starts, the Fresno County sheriff's boating unit is getting ready to save lives.

"We're basically looking for safety violations and people doing unsafe activities," said Deputy Timothy Chang, who works on the boating unit.

On their first weekend of patrols, deputies haven't had much to see. A few people fishing, a jet ski or two, and some floating fun boats kept Pine Flat from being empty, but most of the wakes on the water were caused by the deputies themselves.

And parents kept a watch over kids casting their reels from the shore.

"Basically just keep an eye on them and make sure they're having fun and we're more just watching everything and making sure they're safe," said Alex Jimenez, of Kingsburg.

Sheriff's deputies patrol Pine Flat and Shaver Lakes -- plus the Kings River -- from Memorial Day through Labor Day, and they know the crowds are eventually coming.

"Usually as it heats up more people will come because they want to come out to the water and cool off," said Deputy Chang.

And when they do, they'll see a couple sheriff's boats patrolling each waterway, enforcing the rules -- like counterclockwise boating -- and making sure the fun isn't interrupted by danger.
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