Boaters urged to stay off Catawba River as water rises

YORK COUNTY, SC (WBTV) - At Landsford Canal State Park signs are in place urging people to hold off from boating.

"It's okay up until the problem happens but once that problem happens, then you're really putting yourself at risk," park ranger Al James says.

James urges the climbing water levels should remain as just something to look at.

"It's a good bit higher than most people are capable of handling," he says.

James says normally about 2,000-3,000 cubic feet per second are recommended to get out on the water. This Memorial Day, that number is six times as high.

"Some Memorial Days, we'll have 150 to 200 boats out on the river," he says.

That was not the case Monday with the exception of a few more daring paddlers.

"Part of the adrenaline and the fun, get yourself a little nervous, get your heart beating and enjoy it," one says.

Despite signs and specialists urging against getting out in the water, a small group of rowers say their equipment and experience make the risk worth taking.

"Enough experience that you can roll and correct yourself if you do get into some danger," John Heath says.

With wet weather expected to continue, James says he will keep urging groups to stay on dry land for the time being.

"It's fun if you're qualified for it but it's very scary if you're in the wrong boat, with the wrong gear, and the wrong experience level," he says.

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