CORNELIUS — Rowdy boaters are already rafting up at the popular Cocktail Cove in Iredell County near the Point Lake and Golf Club playing loud music and partying.
Deputy Phil Jones of the Iredell County Sheriffâ€™s Department warned the Lake Norman Marine Commission at Monday nightâ€™s meeting that it already seems to be a problem.
â€œI gave out nine warnings yesterday,â€ he said.
Cocktail Cove has become the place to â€œhang outâ€ with friends on the lake and has caused much displeasure to homeowners who live on the Point Lake and Golf Club.
Some of the problems from previous years include loud music, profanity, indecent exposure and drinking.
The boaters used to meet at a cove called the Sandbar, near Marker D4 until the marine commission drafted a law restricting rafting within 300 feet of shore at the Sandbar.
Boaters then managed to find another cove in which to party, now known as Cocktail Cove.
The marine commission has been having problems trying to control what happens in the cove, since the boaters keep coming back. Law enforcement does patrol it regularly.
The marine commission defines, â€œRafting up,â€ as the anchoring, mooring, tying, fastening, linking or joining of any combination of six or more vessels together in close proximity with one another.
The ordinance summarizes the number of vessels that can raft together. Based on the number of boats, it defines how far from the shoreline or from other vessels the boats must be located.
According to the ordinance, three to 10 vessels must be at least 100 yards from the shoreline and at least 200 yards from similar vessels.
If there are 11 or more vessels the boats must be at least 300 yards from the shoreline.
Jones does not think that many boaters are educated on the rafting ordinance.
â€œA lot of the people I talked to were newcomers and they didnâ€™t know anything about it,â€ he said.
For now, Jones is handing out flyers to boaters who are in the cove.
The flyer educates boaters on rafting and the ordinance.
â€œThatâ€™s just a warning ticket,â€ he said. â€œThe next time I see them they get a real ticket.â€
If the rafting in the cove continues, Jones said he will be issuing BWIs, boating while intoxicated.
â€œThatâ€™s what they are in there doing, drinking,â€ he said.
In other business, the marine commission gave an update on aquatic weed control on the lake.
Grass carp, a vegetarian fish native will be released on the lake in late April or late May in order to help with the problem of hydrilla, a non-native aquatic plant on the lake.
The next marine commission meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on May 9 at the Cornelius Town Hall.
by Amy Wadsworth