DENTON COUNTY (CBSDFW.COM) – Lewisville Lake has a reputation, and Game Warden Stormy McCuistion knows it.
“Drownings are what this lake is known for,” he said.
On patrol during the Memorial Day weekend, it is easy to see why.
Hundreds of people have packed into Party Cove, with a string of boats tied side by side.
Alcohol is nearly everywhere, coming out of beer cans, bongs, and plastic red cups, and the crowd is soaking in the party atmosphere.
“It gets pretty wild out here at times,” said McCuistion. “We’ve worked several drownings right here on Party Cove where we’ve had people jump off a boat, they’re intoxicated, they go down and they don’t resurface.”
In recent years, though, the number of drowning has dropped.
“Just our presence, being out here, seems to keep people a little bit under more control,” said McCuistion.
This year, the game wardens have four boats on the lake. They are also getting help from the Denton County Sheriff’s Office and the US Army Corps of Engineers.
Early in the afternoon, the game wardens start safety checks, making sure everyone on board the boats has access to a life jacket.
“I’ve never pulled up a drowning victim that was wearing a life jacket, not one time,” McCuistion said.
Most boaters seem to welcome the game warden.
“Keeps all the crazy people under control,” said Blake Boren, whose boat passed inspection.
“99 percent of them, they’re glad to see us out here, without a doubt,” McCuistion said.
As it gets harder to find safety violations, he feels the hard work is paying off.
Maybe one day, he thinks Lewisville Lake will have a different kind of reputation.
“I’d love to see the reputation changed, big time,” he said.