With boating season picking up around the lake, the Smith Mountain Lake Sail and Power Squadron held a luncheon on Thursday afternoon in recognition of National Boating Week at El Rio on Scruggs Road.

The guest speaker, Sergeant James Slaughter with the Department of Gaming and Inland Fisheries, talked about boat safety and some of the things to watch out for as the weather becomes more and more boater friendly.

Slaughter took the place of former sergeant Carl Martin, who is now retired from patrolling the lake. He is a native of Franklin County. He also said he admired Martin for the relationships that he formed with the lake community.

“When I was out here in the early 2000’s, and then I came back, there was a significant difference,” Slaughter said. “In those days, every boat that I stopped had someone who either had been drinking or was getting ready to.”

Slaughter talked about how it’s a safety violation to drink while operating a boat, just like it would be for an individual driving a car.

“Not that I have anything against alcohol,” Slaughter said. “However, there was not that concept of responsible drinking.”

-For more information, see the May 29 edition of the Smith Mountain Eagle-

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