BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Heavy rains and flash flooding from last week have pushed debris into area waterways. The logs, tree branches, garbage and rocks could cause problems for boaters.
"With the rising water level, it's been pulling debris off the shorelines that have already been washed up before, and it's going back out into the channels that the boating public is navigating in," Petty Officer Jeremy Bossinger of the U.S. Coast Guard explained.
Some of the debris is on the surface of the water. But some of it is submerged and floating just below the surface, making it nearly invisible to boaters. If hit, it could puncture their vessel.
Coast Guard officials say everyone out on the water needs to be alert and on the lookout for anything hazardous. It's also important for boaters to know the waterways.
Wednesday night, a group of six people were out on the Niagara River when officials believe their boat hit the bottom of the river and starting filling with water.
"There was some shallow water there right outside of the boat ramps and a lot of it's not chartered. They were just inexperienced and didn't have proper charts on board so they weren't sure of the depth of the water there," explained Petty Officer Amanda Borrero of the U.S. Coast Guard.
When rescue officials arrived, the boaters made sure they got two children safely off first.
"They were a little frantic. There was a 2-month-old baby on board and a 9-year-old. The child was visibly getting upset. We quickly pulled right alongside and got the children on our boat," Petty Officer Borrero said.
Petty Officer Bossinger said if someone is an inexperienced boater, they should notify someone that is not on the boat about where they're going and when they expect to get back.
And if you find yourself in trouble on a boat, officials advise people to call 911 or the Coast Guard.
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