Serving Lake Norman and Mountain Island Lake Our Lakes Enforcement Unit was developed in the early 1980's in response to rapid development and increased recreational use of the three lakes that border Western Mecklenburg County.
Our Lakes Enforcement Unit was developed in the early 1980's in response to rapid development and increased recreational use of the three lakes that border Western Mecklenburg County.
These manmade lakes, Lake Norman, Lake Wylie and Mountain Island Lake, are part of the Catawba chain of lakes developed by Duke Power Company between 1904 and 1963 for the purpose of producing power for Charlotte-Mecklenburg and the surrounding metropolitan areas.
They have a combined surface area of over 48,000 acres and total over 900 miles of shoreline. This is more than the North and South Carolina coasts combined!
The primary patrol boats currently assigned to the lakes are custom-built 22-foot Sea Ark enclosed cabin type boats. They are fully equipped with the latest in navigation and communication electronics for year round emergency response in almost any weather conditions. The unit also utilizes several smaller trailer able boats that can be easily deployed on any of the lakes, as they may be needed, including several Wave Runners provided through the Yamaha Law Loan Program. These small and versatile craft are used for special events such as the annual triathlon on Mountain Island Lake and the Latta Launch Canoe Kayak Race. They are also used for directed patrols of high traffic areas such as marinas and waterfront parks.
Officers of the Lakes Enforcement Unit receive specialized training in Marine Law Enforcement tactics and North Carolina Boating laws, as well as Boating Skills and Seamanship, and Water Safety. Members of the unit actively patrol state waters in their jurisdiction for safety and registration violations, as well as responding to calls for service that are water accessible.
Full time officers are also state certified Emergency Medical Technicians/ Defibrillator Technicians and are responsible for providing Emergency Medical Response for any medical emergencies that occur on the water. This added EMS responsibility is unique to this unit.
The Lake Patrol also participates in yearly Nuclear Regulatory Commission training and testing for lake evacuation in the event of a nuclear emergency, and Charlotte-Mecklenburg is currently designated as the lead agency in the Nuclear Emergency Contingency Plan.
The Lakes Enforcement Unit is also currently a part of the counties Swift Water Rescue Plan, training with selected members of the Charlotte Fire Dept. to provide professional response to any swift water emergencies that may occur in the areas creeks and rivers, making this one of the most versatile and well trained units in the state.
The Lakes Enforcement Division of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police, is a year-round, full time enforcement division. Lakes Enforcement Officers are charged with the responsibility of boater safety, education, and enforcement of the Navigational Laws of the State of North Carolina, as well as local ordinances and Federal Laws that apply to these inland waters. All Officers are EMT certified and the unit is equipped with a defibrillator and all emergency support equipment. Officers use the latest in technology to serve the lake community and respond to all medical emergencies on the water, providing an advanced level of care.
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<strong>Lake Norman:</strong><br>Lake Norman has over 520 miles of shoreline covering 32,510 acres. Lake Norman is positioned in Mecklenburg, Iredell, Lincoln, and Catawba counties, and each of the jurisdictions having enforcement authority on the entire lake. Within Mecklenburg County there are 90 miles of shoreline covering 10,350 acres. Lake Norman is a beautiful recreational area and within the four counties bordering Lake Norman there are approximately 40,000 registered boats and/or watercraft.<br><br>
<strong>Mountain Island Lake:</strong><br>Mountain Island Lake is the smallest of the three lakes in Mecklenburg County covering 3,235 acres and having 61 miles of shoreline. This lake is bordered by Mecklenburg, Gaston, and Lincoln Counties. Within Mecklenburg County, there are approximately 1,790 acres of water and 31 miles of shoreline.<br><br>Mountain Island is a narrow lake with numerous exotic wildlife habitats within it's borders. Latta Plantation Park area, The Wildlife Refuge area, and the Carolina Raptor Center is located near Mountain Island Lake. Numerous species of wildlife can be viewed and observed.<br><br>
<strong>Lake Wylie:</strong><br>Lake Wylie was first created in 1904 and the dam was rebuilt in 1924. It is named for Dr. W. Gil Wylie who organized Duke Power. The Lake has 325 miles of shoreline and 13,443 acres of surface area. Lake Wylie is positioned in Mecklenburg and Gaston Counties in North Carolina and in York County, South Carolina. Lake Wylie supports the hydroelectric plant at the dam, Allen Steam Station, and Catawba Nuclear Station.<br><br><br>
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<strong>Be prepared - a good boating tip</strong><br><br>
The boating season is finally upon us. Many boat owners have conducted their annual ritual of de-winterizing and cleaning their boat to prepare for the water. In addition, they have checked all their safety equipment well in advance to ensure it is onboard and in good working order.<br><br>
On the other hand, many will pull off the cover or tarp, grab the jumper cables, start the boat and off they go! They're positive everything was left on the boat from last season that will be necessary for a day on the lake--and this is the group that will keep law enforcement and the towing services very busy.<br><br>
Everyone should prepare their boat prior to arriving at the launch ramp. To assist you in making your day on the lake safe and enjoyable, the following is a list of what is required by law to have on board your vessel. In addition, we will recommend other equipment that is not mandatory but is a good idea to have on hand.<br><br>
Every vessel operating on the waters of this state shall have the following: <ul><li>A certificate of numbers on board and in full force and effect.</li><li>Registration numbers displayed on both sides of the vessel, on the front portion of the bow, in three-inch solid block letters of contrasting color to the hull with the validation sticker following the registration on the starboard (right) side and spaced as follows: NC 1234 AB or NC-1234-AB.</li><li>The proper type and size personal flotation device (PFD) for each person onboard in good condition and readily accessible.</li><li>All children under the age of 13 aboard a vessel that is underway, must wear an approved PFD, unless below deck or in an enclosed cabin.</li><li>A USCG approved type IV PFD throwable cushion or ring buoy for boats over 16 feet in length</li><li>The following lights for night operation: Red to port, green to starboard, 360 degree white all around light, or 135 degree stern light and 225 degree masthead light. Sailboats under sail alone shall exhibit the combined lantern (red to port, green to starboard) and 135 degree stern light, but no 225 degree masthead light.</li><li>Gas powered boats with closed construction require fire extinguishers (size and number vary according to length of boat), ventilation systems, and flame arrestors.</li><li>Whistle or sound producing device.</li></ul><br>
<strong>Recommended equipment:</strong><ul><li>Cell Phone</li><li>VHF radio</li><li>Paddle</li><li>Anchor</li><li>Depth gauge</li><li>First Aid Kit</li><li>Lake Chart (Lake Map)</li></ul>
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<strong>Citizens on Patrol-Lake Volunteer Unit</strong><br><br>
Are you a lake resident, or do you have boating experience? Are you interested in promoting water safety in the community? If so, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department wants you for the <strong>Citizens on Patrol-Lake Volunteer Unit!</strong><br><br>
The Police Department has formed a Citizens on Patrol (COP) Lake Volunteer Unit of community members to help maintain safety on the water and shorelines of our lakes. If you can contribute a minimum of 16 hours of service per month with a minimum of 6 months service, the opportunity to serve your community and obtain rewarding and enriching experiences is here!<br><br>The COP Lake Volunteers is an extension of a volunteer land patrol program. Members patrol local lakes in uniform and operate CMPD Volunteer Patrol vessels to assist in deterring crime while promoting water and boating safety.<br><br>
The Lakes Enforcement Division would like to share Lake Related information with the boating public. Please download and keep with you the attached brochure