Lots of boats, less water create concern for deputies patrolling Lake Success

TULARE COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- This year's low water level at Lake Success is a concern for Tulare County Sheriff's Deputy Derrick Hood, who has patrolled the reservoir with the boat safety enforcement unit since 2016.

Less water means less space for boats to roam.

And with dozens of boats on the lake Saturday, it got a bit crowded.

"You take that many boats out here going in a circle, then people not going in the proper direction, cutting across the lake, doing everything that people are doing out here, and the stress level gets really high because it's hard to keep an eye on that many boats all at the same time," Hood said.

Deputy Hood and his partner spent Memorial Day weekend constantly scanning the lake's surface, as well as its shores, enforcing the rules, from registration violations to a lack of life jackets onboard.

The deputies are also reminding boat operators who are 40 years old or younger that they need to carry a California Boater Card at all times.

A card will be required for all ages by 2025.

To get one, operators must take a boating safety course and exam.

Hood says that's a good thing.
"After being out here for so long and I grew up recreating on this lake as a kid, as an adult, you see some really interesting stuff out here," Hood said. "What in that person's mind made them think that that was a good idea?"

Everyone was pretty well-behaved on Monday, Hood said.

Most people were just looking to beat the heat by being on the water.

Valentina Ortega says there are some children in her group of friends and family.

So they have to be careful.

"We do have a couple of small ones, but it's pretty safe here," Ortega said. "Everyone's always watching their kids."

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