Two boats sank on Lake Wylie. Why law enforcement says both could’ve been prevented.

One afternoon, two boats sank to the bottom of Lake Wylie — both could have been prevented.

According to South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, two boats went to the bottom of the lake July 8. One was a pontoon in 3 feet of water near Ebenezer Park in Rock Hill.

“There wasn’t much to that one,” said Lance Cpl. Dwayne Rogers with SCDNR. “With that one, the plug came out, and they were right there at the ramp.”

The other incident could have been worse. At about 8:30 p.m., a wakeboarding boat sank in about 35 feet of water on the main channel leaving Goat Island in front of Ebenezer Park, heading southeast toward Nivens Creek. A Belmont family, including a 9-month-old with three adults, went into the water and floated until another boater found them.

“Everyone survived,” Rogers said. “They were floating in the water about 15 minutes.”

The baby was wearing a life jacket, as required by law. The adults weren’t. The family of experienced boaters, Rogers said, thought they could withstand tough conditions on the water.

“We had a big storm on the north end, and on the south end we were getting a strong wind,” Rogers said. “It basically started whitecapping on the lake.”

Rogers, also an SCDNR dive team instructor, said his patrol had come ashore as a weather app showed a serious storm was approaching. He advises other boaters to do the same.

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