Stafford County has installed four numbered navigation buoys at Lake Mooney to make Stafford's recreational waterways safer. The effort was a collaboration between the Utilities Department and Fire and Rescue's Swift Water Rescue Team. The Swift Water Rescue Team worked on a similar effort with the City of Fredericksburg to install numbered mile marker signs on the Rappahannock.
"This effort is one of our continuing efforts to innovate and keep patrons safe on our recreational waterways," said Chairman of the Board of Supervisors Crystal Vanuch, Rock H
While boating and fishing on the lake are encouraged, it is essential to remember that swimming in the reservoir is prohibited. The no-swimming policy is in place to protect the quality of the reservoir for water supply purposes and protect residents from dangers associated with swimming in a reservoir. District. "It is also a great example of inter-departmental cooperation designed to benefit our residents."
The dangers of swimming in a reservoir include:
- Steep, slippery banks: It can be hard to get out of a reservoir once you are in the water. The sides of reservoirs are often very steep and slippery, making it difficult to climb out.
- Hidden currents: There may be hidden currents from water pipes below or spillways that function to draw water towards them.
- Algae: Algae can build up along the water's edge that can cause skin rashes and upset stomachs.
- Deep, cold water: Lake Mooney has deceptively deep areas, with depths of more than 100 feet and sudden drops. The water temperatures in these depths can drop quickly, causing hypothermia.
The navigation buoys were installed to help recreational lake users more accurately pinpoint their location while on Lake Mooney. Captain Matt King with Stafford's Swift Water Rescue Team reports that each year his team responds to calls from people in distress out on Lake Mooney. These navigational buoys will help provide clear reference points in the event of an emergency.
Emergency personnel asks users of the lake to familiarize themselves with the number of the nearest buoy as they move along the lake. Buoy number one is located approximately 200 yards from the boat launch, and the remaining three buoys are placed at the mouth of each of the three lake coves. A sign with a map will be placed at the boat launch to help educate the public about the buoys and how to use them.
When enjoying Lake Mooney this summer, please remember to heed the signs, and, again, that swimming is prohibited by law in Stafford's drinking water reservoirs. To reach Stafford's water rescue team in an emergency, please dial 911.