Langley – While lake levels are slowly but steadily receding, following recent heavy rains and area flooding, the Grand River Dam Authority is encouraging the public to take extra precautions when visiting the water over Memorial Day weekend.

“We want everyone to come out to Grand and Hudson lakes and enjoy the holiday weekend,” said GRDA Vice President of Corporate Communications Justin Alberty. “However, because lake levels will be elevated, we want to remind visitors to be mindful of how those higher levels can impact boating.”

Alberty said there is a likelihood that floodgates will be open at both Pensacola (Grand Lake) and Robert S. Kerr (Lake Hudson) dams during the weekend, so staying well clear of floodgate areas needs to be a priority for all boaters.

“On the lake side, please observe the buoys designating the floodgate and spillways and stay well clear of those areas. Below the dams, we stress that as well and ask everyone to stay clear of floodwater releases. Not only is it illegal to enter floodwater releases, it is also very dangerous.”

  • Be aware of floating debris. Higher lake levels can mean more driftwood and debris floating in the water. Please be on the lookout as you are boating.
  • Be mindful of the changing shoreline topography and the possibility of now-submerged structures. Things like stumps, picnic tables, retaining walls and other structures typically located along the shoreline may now be submerged due to the lake levels. Use extreme caution and avoid unfamiliar areas of the shoreline.
  • Finally, a good reminder for boating in all conditions: always wear your life jacket.

For those who intend to visit the “rock crawling” areas below the Pensacola Dam spillway over the long weekend, Alberty said GRDA is anticipating that some of those areas will be accessible.

However, due to release schedules and the possibility of more rainfall, the exact locations may not be determined until Friday.

Additionally, it is important that the public make safety a priority in all areas near GRDA hydroelectric facilities.

GRDA Flood Gate Areas

Whether you are on land or water, notifications such as signs, buoys, sirens, fencing and flashing lights are all intended to notify those in the area when floodgates are open, generators are operating or water is rising swiftly.

The following tips are shared to help keep you safe near GRDA facilities:

Signs: Posted at GRDA hydroelectric facilities to warn of extreme danger in floodgate areas. Please be aware of other signs near GRDA facilities that notify you of no trespassing areas, no diving areas, or unstable footing.

Buoys: Red buoys and cabling above and below spillway gates and hydroelectric powerhouses restrict access to dangerous areas associated with power generation or floodgate releases.

Flashing Lights: At hydroelectric facilities, the flashing lights are initiated when floodgates are opened or generation is underway.

Fencing: In place to identify borders and to restrict access to certain areas near the hydroelectric facilities.

Sirens: These are located at various places on the hydroelectric facilities and are utilized prior to the operation of hydroelectric generators and/or floodgates.

Once again, the GRDA Police Department encourages you to enjoy your weekend on the water, just be sure to boat safe, smart and sober.

For more information on GRDA, the GRDA Police Department and lake rules, visit the GRDA Police tab on or like us on Facebook.

If you need immediate assistance while on the water, the GRDA Police encourages you to dial 911. If you don’t have a cell phone available on your boat you can also radio for help on Marine Band 16.

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