AUSTIN (KXAN) — As temperatures continue to heat up, Central Texas families will look for ways to stay cool. For some, that means taking a dip in our lakes. However, the Lake Travis level is low. Saturday, data from the Lower Colorado River Authority shows the lake recording levels just under 654 feet.

The last time the lake dropped that low was in September 2018 when the lake fell to 653.8′.

Lake Travis visitors have noticed the change.

“It’s crazy because the last time I came the water was like, all full like right here,” said Brittany Alpizar, pointing to an area that was now dry and full of rocks.

Vanessa Ramos and her family at Bob Wentz Park on Saturday. (KXAN Photo/Candy Rodriguez)

Another visitor, Vanessa Ramos, pointed to an area that was once covered by the lake water saying, “That whole piece of island there – you weren’t able to see it the last time.”

The LCRA said there are steps people can take to be safe whether they plan to swim or boat on Lake Travis.

Travis County offers free rental lifejackets at Bob Wentz Park. (KXAN Photo/Candy Rodriguez)

When it comes to swimming, LCRA’s John Hofmann said people should remember, “lakes aren’t swimming pools, and the bottom of the lake is uneven.”

Hofmann explained there are sudden drop-offs and irregularities in the lake bottom.

“One minute you can be in two feet of water, and then the next minute, you can be dropped off into 40 feet of water in just a step or two,” Hofmann said.

With low lake levels, swimming areas could cause people to go out farther into the lake than they would other times because of how low it is.

“You really need to pay attention to where you are and understand that in this reservoir, water reservoir environment, particularly during a drought cycle, drought period, like what we’re in right now. Things will change,” he said.

As the lake drops, boaters could also face a new hazard. Things like sandbars or piled-up debris in areas where they weren’t before. 

“Just because you may be familiar with an area, maybe you went there last summer doesn’t mean it’s gonna look. And more importantly, it won’t navigate the same way that you did before,” Hofmann explained.

Ramos and her family are taking precautions.

“Definitely take that advice seriously, and pay attention to your surroundings,” said the mom of two. “Maybe even people that are swimming around you because there are no lifeguards out here so you’re kind of just fending for yourself.”

At Lake Austin, what the LCRA considers a ‘pass-through lake’, Austin Police Department’s Lake Patrol reports it has seen a spike in boat purchases and boat traffic in Lake Austin and has noticed inexperienced boaters who do not understand the rules of the water and the proper safety equipment. They’ve also seen a “massive jump” in paddleboarding and recreational activities at Lady Bird Lake so far this season.