Grand Lake – The countdown to Memorial Day Weekend 2011 has begun. The last weekend in May marks the beginning of the summer season for area lakes, drawing thousands to the water for boating, skiing, swimming or sailing.
The GRDA Lake Police want to people to remember while they are preparing for the holiday to prepare to boat safely as well. Approximately 700 people drown each year from recreational boating accidents. That number could be lowered by simply buckling on a life jacket and following lake rules and regulations.
“The Lake Police encourages everyone to wear their life jackets and pay attention on the water,” said Charlie Floyd, GRDA Superintendent of Law Enforcement. “Pay attention to other boaters.”
GRDA Lake Police will be out on Grand Lake and Lake Hudson enforcing the regulations in order to make it a safe weekend for all visitors. They will also be “catching” boaters wearing their life jackets. This weekend will kick off the fifth season of the “I got caught wearing my life jacket” campaign, rewarding those who boat safely.
“The slogan has always been ‘it won’t work if you don’t wear it’,” said Floyd. “And it’s true. You can’t underestimate the importance of your life jacket. Those who are wearing their life jackets and making sure their children are wearing their life jackets are really setting an example of safe boating for everyone else on the water.”
GRDA also offers these other important safe boating tips for all those who will be hitting the water this weekend:
- Before you leave the dock, know the stability, load capability and handling of the vessel you’re operating. All boats must be equipped with certain safety equipment. Learn how to properly use all safety equipment. Check the water conditions and know where hazards like sandbars and stump beds are located.
- Before you leave home, check the weather; don’t get caught on the lake in a storm. Take time to double check to see if all your safety equipment is on the boat. The equipment required by law: personal floatation device (PFD) life preservers, anchor, bailing device, oars, fire extinguishers, lights, horn or whistle and throwable cushions.
- Boaters, no matter what age, need a float plan. Tell someone where you are going and when you will return.
- Most lake accidents are alcohol-related. “If you drink, don’t drive” certainly applies on the water!
“We believe our lakes are a great place for boating, skiing, fishing or just enjoying the water,” said Floyd, “but we just want everyone who visits our lakes this weekend to have a safe and enjoyable time. So please, use common sense and follow the boating rules.”
For more information on lake safety, proper life jacket sizing or lake rules, pick up your copy of the new 2011 GRDA Summer Lake Guide, contact the GRDA Police at (918) 782 9594