DNR keeping waters safe after a deadly accident

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Monday, June 9th, 2014

damaged walkway
Overnight storms produced strong winds that damaged marina walkways at Lake Thurmond. (April 5, 2011 / WRDW-TV)

(WRDW)- A day at the lake turned deadly for one woman in McCormick county yesterday. 45 year old Lisa Gepfert was killed after her wave runner hit a rock launching her into a tree.
It's up to DNR to patrol all of Thurmond lake, which can be a tall order.

Pamella Allen was friends with Lisa Gepfert for 30 years. She remembers spending her days on the lake with her. The place Gepfert loved the most.

"She loved being on the lake. Her home was on the lake," said Allen.

Allen says news like this hits hard.

"I still couldn't believe it, even though I knew in my heart. I was like no, this isn't happening. This isn't real," said Allen.

Allen is still trying to wrap her head around her friends death, but she knows Lisa is in a better place.

"Her spirit was so bright, I'm sure she's lighting up heaven now," said

It's up to the South Carolina DNR to patrol the water. That's 2 to 4 officers covering 30 to 40 miles.

"Yes, we can always use more man power. When we work incidents like we do yesterday, I feel like we did a good job," said Daniel Baker, DNR officer.

DNR says another key to fast response time is working with county dispatch. they say they count on McCormick County just as much as the county counts on them.

"McCormick county is always willing to help. I think they're a good ally to have," said Baker.

McCormick County Sheriff's Office also patrols on foot, but it's DNR that's keeping the water safe. More patrollers would cost more money.

"You have to have the funds to give them a boat to use, and a truck, and all so it's going to be tough to have them out," said Baker.

The same goes for Georgia DNR. They're budget isn't big either.

Georgia DNR has two boats that patrols 70,000 acres and there are only 4 officers on the water at any given time.

"As big as Clark Hills is, response time is always an issue just because its so large," said Bobby Timmerman, Georgia DNR officer.

DNR says here's what to do while you're waiting for help to find you.

"Stay by the boat if it's safe. Try to flag down some help. If anyone sees a boating accident it's there responsibility to help," said Timmerman.

South Carolina DNR says they're focusing on recreational areas. We asked if they'll add more patrols since yesterdays fatal accident, and
they say if they see a spot with more accidents they will. .
Both South Carolina and Georgia DNR say on weekends and holidays they have all of their officers out on the water.