Riding along with APD's Lake Patrol

Lake Austin and Lady Bird Lake remain closed to the public and if you're caught out there, Austin police will ticket you. FOX 7 rode along with them to see what dangers lie beneath the water.

It may look like nice weather to go out on the lake but that doesn't mean it's safe. All the recent rains have made the waters dangerous, which is why you still aren't allowed on them.

Patrolling on land, to patrolling on the water - it's a whole different story.

"We usually just pick these up, put it in the boat," says Senior Police Officer Joey Desormeaux, Austin Police Department.

Austin Police Department's Lake Patrol is canvassing Lake Austin and Lady Bird Lake to make sure people are adhering to the watercraft ban. If not, they get a call.

"Someone called it in because they saw a paddle boarder on Lady Bird Lake around the Congress Avenue bridge. They thought that he was in distress," says Officer Desormeaux.

It's something first responders don't like to hear about - people putting themselves at risk.

"They thought he was in distress because he was struggling so much against the current that is currently on Lady Bird due to the water being generated here at the Tom Miller Dam," says Officer Desormeaux

APD has already issued several citations.

The LCRA opened three floodgates at Tom Miller Dam. That has created high and swift waters - making recreational, commercial, and navigational use on the lakes unsafe.

It's not always a smooth ride.

"Sometimes they get stuck up in front of the engine," says Officer Desormeaux.  

That's not the worst thing that can happen, which is why the ban is in place for now. There are too many hazardous objects.

"People could fly out of the boat from the impact of the crash and they could drown after that. With the water level, the boats out here pitch a pretty good wake. The water may actually go into some people's homes. It may damage property, it may damage boats," says Officer Desormeaux.

Lake Austin, Lady Bird Lake and the Colorado River downstream from Longhorn Dam are closed until Friday.
At that time, Austin Fire will determine whether they need to extend the ban.

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