If you plan on taking a boat on Utah Lake in the next few months, you'll be taking a risk that state and sheriff's officials say may not be wise.
And you may have to find a new place to launch your boat.The lake's low level has forced closure of the Utah Lake State Park marina because of what park superintendent Steve Carpenter called dangerous conditions. The low water also means neither park authorities nor the Utah County sheriff's office can launch search-and-rescue boats in emergency situations.
"If we can't launch our boat, and the state park can't launch its boat, then (boaters) are going to have to depend on good Samaritans if they get into trouble. And for that matter so are we," Sheriff's Capt. David Lamph said.
Carpenter said the state closed the marina Monday because water depth is only 18 inches and most boats need at least 30 inches of water for launching. He said the last time the state's rescue boat was launched it had to be pushed through mud and sustained substantial motor damage. Lamph said the sheriff's rescue boat also was damaged the last time it was used on the lake.
"If we allow someone to launch a boat and there is a boating incident we cannot provide emergency help, and we're not going to promote a dangerous situation," Carpenter said.
Carpenter said the lake's average depth is 6 feet and in many parts less. Although there are several other places to launch, Carpenter said boating on the lake is hazardous and boaters need to be aware of the risk they are taking.
He said many of the state's other marinas have been closed because of low water.