Helping Keep Smith Lake Safe: Boat Safety Awareness & Other Tips Ensure Summer Fun


CULLMAN – As summer and all its activities come upon us, we start thinking about getting ready for a day at Smith Lake. It’s time to uncover the pontoon and pull out the swimsuit, but there are a couple of things you need to do before getting out on the water.

First, make sure your boater’s license is up to date and if you do not have one then you can easily get one at the courthouse.

Second, ensure your boat has enough life preservers for everyone riding.

Third, make sure you have a working fire extinguisher. 

This simple checklist will make a day at the lake safe and enjoyable.

Safety on the lake is not always easy, but Sheriff Matt Gentry encourages boat drivers to be aware of their surroundings while driving. 

Also, be very careful when any children are on the boat – they need to be seated with a life preserver on.

Never drive while under the influence of alcohol; driving while intoxicated will tremendously raise the likelihood of having a wreck and injuring someone or could result in getting yourself injured.

One major problem Sheriff Gentry and his department deal with in the Smith Lake area is theft from houses and boat docks located on lake property.

Owners need to be aware of the risks involved leaving valuable items on docks or leaving doors unlocked. Installing a security system is almost always successful in preventing theft. 

Sheriff Gentry stated, “One of the ways we prevent it is by being very vigilant because a lot of the time criminals will target people that are seasonal lake property owners. So they’re going and hitting their property when they’re not there. We try and stay very vigilant in the winter time.” 

Gentry encourages residents to lock their fishing rods and their equipment up, and if it’s on your boat, don’t leave it out in the open for someone to pull up and steal it.

This is a big problem because some criminals will patrol the lake, looking for something easy to to steal.

“We ask residents to be very mindful and to keep stuff locked up, don’t lay it out or leave it out on the boat, and maintain awareness of their property while at the lake,” the Sheriff concluded.

Another concern voiced by Sheriff Gentry is that Cullman County is currently lacking a marine police.

This means the Cullman County Sheriff’s Office spends their time and limited resources on and around the lake.

This summer they will be picking up the slack like never before by adding two to three extra patrol cars around the lake area. 

“What we’re doing locally is we’re going to have our guys, our dive team members, our Sheriff’s deputies out there more often this summer than we have ever had,” Gentry explained.

This summer do not let the sun and fun of beautiful Smith Lake make you blind to that fact there are people on the lake not just looking to ski. They want your belongings and this summer, do not be an easy target. Be aware and vigilant. Also, be a responsible driver and help Smith Lake remain a safe place for families and friends to come have a good time.