TEMPLE, Texas — An annual training saw an added benefit from elevated levels on Lake Belton.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is holding its annual boat safety training for new employees at Arrowhead Point Park this week.

"You do have to watch out," Courtney Heuring, a new employee working as a park rangers at Lake Waco, said. "There is the possibility of debris in the lake because it is flooded and the levels are flooded a little higher. But you have to be aware. Some stuff under the water, like sand bars, may not be as visible because water is on top of them."

Brandon Randig, the USACE District Motorboat Coordinator for the Fort Worth District, said the teachings and methodologies are all the same. However, to prove the point that you don't always know what's under the water, he said they're able to point out certain spots where they wouldn't have been able to navigate previously. Trees, stumps and other debris would have stuck out of the water in previous years.

"It's that whole unknown aspect," Randig said. "Most of these students are going to be from around the state, so for them, it's an unfamiliar lake. Not knowing what's there is an extra step that's added to the training."

Heuring said there are several extreme maneuvers being taught. Randig added there are a lot of safety elements in the course the new rangers can pass on to the public while patrolling the water in the summer.

"It's just really important that people who operate boats know how to do it safely," Heuring said. "I'd recommend a boating safety course for anyone who hasn't done it before, and just knowing the lake. Don't just get out there and get to operating without knowing what you're getting in to, because there are safety hazards on any lake."

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