NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — There could be a hidden danger out at the lake this weekend.
Last Saturday, NewsChannel 5 discovered that several channel markers on Percy Priest Lake were either in the wrong spots or missing entirely. Matthew Parker, an experienced boat owner, showed us a few of the problem spots. "You could hurt yourself, potentially kill someone," said Parker.
One of the worst examples was near Ponderosa Island, near Hurricane Creek Recreation Area. "We saw people standing, I mean right beside it where you could literally see their kneecaps," said Parker.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers invited NewsChannel 5 back out on the lake Friday, to show us the effort they're making to replace or re-position the missing markers. While we were out there, the crew was able to re-anchor the red buoy near Ponderosa Island.
But that isn't the only problem area.
Greg Thomas, Resource Manager for the Army Corps of Engineers at Percy Priest Lake, confirms that 15% of all buoys are currently missing or misplaced. Normally, they're able to check all of the markers before the boating season gets busy.
Then again, nothing about this year has been normal. "Because of the social distancing thing, we couldn’t get out on the boats," said Thomas.
So now his team of Army Corps Rangers is trying to make up for lost time.
"You come out, you find that coordinate or you get close to it on a chart and drop it in," said Dylon Anderson, one of the rangers.
The replacement process may take another two to three weeks. So Thomas is asking all boaters to come to the lake prepared, with maps or GPS systems.
"It’s really up to the boater to know where they’re going out here on the lake," said Thomas.
Matthew Parker, who first told NewsChannel 5 about the missing markers sent us this statement:
"There is absolutely no chance it's a coincidence that this problem is being fixed only days after NewsChannel 5's story. Just hours after Chris's report, I saw someone sink from hitting a rock. Hopefully, this will limit future tragic accidents. Thank you, NewsChannel 5 for taking this seriously."