Langley – For many lake enthusiasts, Memorial Day weekend is just the beginning of many summer hours that will be spent on Oklahoma’s water playgrounds. Certainly, GRDA’s Grand and Hudson lakes in Northeast Oklahoma will welcome their share of visitors, as large crowds are expected to hit the water for boating, swimming, skiing, tubing, cruising or simply relaxing along the shore.
With that in mind, the Grand River Dam Authority Police Department wants to remind all those lake visitors that “boating safe, boating smart and boating sober” is still the best way to spend time on the water. The following tips can also be helpful to lake visitors as they plan a trip to GRDA lakes this summer:
• Before you leave the dock, know the stability, load capability and handling of the vessel you are operating. Remember, every boat is different.
• All boats must be equipped with certain safety equipment, but this equipment is useless if you don’t know how to use it. Learn how to properly use all the safety equipment on your boat.
• Double-check to see if you have all the required safety equipment on your boat:
― Lights Operating & Satisfactory( if operating vessel at night)
― Horn or Whistle and a bell if the boat is over 26ft in length
― Fire Extinguishers
― Flame Arrestor ( I/O)
― Ventilation (Blowers)
― Life Jackets
― Bailing Device
• Items needed on a personal watercraft (PWC) include:
― Life Jacket
― Kill switch
― Fire Extinguisher
― Horn or whistle
• Check the water conditions and know where hazards like sandbars and stump beds are located.
• Before you leave the dock, check the weather conditions. Don’t get caught on the lake in a storm you could have avoided.
• Airplane pilots file a flight plan. Boaters need a float plan. Tell someone responsible where you are going and when you expect to return.
• Don’t drink and boat! Most lake accidents are alcohol related. Don’t become a statistic.
• Finally, if you need immediate assistance, the GRDA Police recommends you call 911. However, if you are on the boat with no cell phone access, you can use Marine Band 16 to radio for help.
The GRDA Police joins the USCG and others in continuing to stress the importance of life jackets. In fact, this summer, GRDA will resume the “I Got Caught” life jacket campaign where free t-shirts are given to the those boaters who are “caught” wearing their life jackets on GRDA waters. While that campaign helps promote life jackets, GRDA officers also stress some important tips that everyone should keep in mind.
― BUY your own personal life jacket and use it. One size does not fit all.
― LOOK at the label. It will provide weight, size and use information.
― TRY it on to check the fit. Once the straps and buckles are secured, it should not slip over your head.
― NEVER use water toys in place of an approved life jacket.
― CHECK your life jacket yearly for flotation and fit.
― FINALLY, WEAR A LIFE JACKET to set an example for younger children and to increase your chances of survival in an accident.
GRDA officers are gearing up for another great summer on Grand and Hudson lakes and will be out on the
waters to promote safe outings, assist boaters and enforce lake rules and regulations. For more information on the department and lake safety, or for information on how an officer can assist you, contact the department at (918) 256 0911 or visit us online at grda.com. And to view the 2012-2013 GRDA Lake Guide online, click on the “Lake Information” drop down menu on grda.com, then click on the “GRDA Lake Publications” link. You can also pick up a hardcopy of the guide, along with other important lake area information, at the GRDA Ecosystems and Education Center in Langley. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, the building will be open 9AM to 4PM, seven days a week. At other times of the year, it is open 8AM to 4:30PM, Monday-Friday.
# # #