Louisville Metro Police River Patrol asks boaters to stay off th - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Louisville Metro Police River Patrol asks boaters to stay off the Ohio River this weekend

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Louisville Metro Police are asking boaters to consider staying off the Ohio River this weekend. The department's River Patrol is limiting time on the water, unless there's an emergency.

There are a couple of reasons the river patrol wants boaters to stay docked this weekend -- mainly because the river is so high and fast, and at a lot of boat docks, like at Cox Park, you'll find a lot of dangerous debris.

Ray Waslo is a sales and delivery person at Sea Ray of Louisville, so a lot of his personal and professional time is spent on the Ohio River.

"I've been boating pretty much all my life," Waslo said. "We have boats we need to get out and we also have boats that we have to put in, but right at this point and time, we're not going near it."

Waslo checks the water daily and says the river conditions are dangerous right now.

"She's not a very navigable situation right now," he said.

Metro Police hope a lot of boaters will do the same this weekend.

"I'm a pretty experienced boater myself, and I would recommend not coming out this weekend," said Ofc. Chad Crick of the LMPD River Patrol.

The warmer weather and Forecastle Concerts are already attracting boaters to the water, but police say now is a good time to stay docked.

"In years past there has been a lot of boats that have come down and have anchored and listened to the music, but those years past we have typically had really good water," Crick said.

Crick says the river is several feet higher than normal and full of dangerous debris.

"It is easy to see what you see on top of the water because you can see it coming at you," he said. "What you don't see is there are suspended loads -- what we call suspended loads -- that are trees that are under the water that could potentially take out an engine."

The warning comes nearly two weeks after five people were killed when their pontoon boat hit a barge. Officer Crick can't talk about the incident because of a pending investigation, but says LMPD boats will be out on a limited basis unless it's another life-and-death situation.

"With these conditions, we're not going to just go out and just ride up and down the river and constantly check on boats," he said. "Not unless it is an absolute emergency."

And that's why you won't find Ray Waslo on the water this weekend.

"You're taking your life in your hands in the conditions, the way it is right now," Waslo said.

And Metro Police also want to remind boaters that it is against the law to operate a boat, water ski or any other personal water device while under the influence of alcohol.

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