Authorities urge vigilance as families visit drought-stricken Bass Lake

BASS LAKE, Calif. (KFSN) -- Authorities say the drought has exposed more hazards in Bass Lake and left less room for everyone to share, but it's not keeping hundreds of people from spending Labor Day out on the water. The Madera County Sheriff's Office said so far, there have been no reports of injuries or accidents at the lake this holiday weekend.

Labor Day weekend at Bass Lake means crowded waterways throughout the four-mile stretch of lake. A two-man Madera County sheriff's team patrols the lake until nightfall. But this year, the deputies are extra sensitive to potentially deadly mistakes.

"All of a sudden this year we've had two deaths, one major injury accident and about a half dozen boating accidents," said Deputy Ed Greene of the Madera County Sheriff's Office.

Greene said there hasn't been a death on these waters in 10 years until this summer, and he says it's mainly because of the drought. One of the deadly accidents involved a 13-year-old boy after investigators said a jet skier ran into him while he was in the water. Detectives said the driver rented his jet ski from Miller's Landing.

The owner from the dock said they can't comment on the accident, but staff members say safety remains a top priority.

"We had to go more in depth and put more things like they had to sign for it and make sure they read it. We've got to go way more in depth with how they drive and all that, lake rules, make sure every driver whoever is going to be driving has to sign a waiver and all that," said Trevor Smith of Miller's Landing.

For these deputies, the message of safety and education is more important than ever, and they're making it their personal mission to get everyone on these waters home this holiday weekend.
Copyright © 2019 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.