Mark your calendar: Safe Boating Courses

Power for Progress…
A weekly column from the Grand River Dam Authority

With summer just around the corner, many folks are already planning their lake outings. However, before you get too far into that schedule, the Grand River Dam Authority wants to remind you to save some space on your calendar for some upcoming lake-related events.

GRDA has scheduled its 2014 Kyle Williams Safe Boating Courses. Young boaters between 12 and up to 16 (without a valid driver’s license) need to take a safe boating course in order to operate certain vessels on Oklahoma waters.

GRDA has scheduled its 2014 Kyle Williams Safe Boating Courses. Young boaters between 12 and up to 16 (without a valid driver’s license) need to take a safe boating course in order to operate certain vessels on Oklahoma waters.

Of course, those events start with safety and education. As in past years, GRDA will be hosting Kyle Williams Safe Boating Courses this spring and summer. Intended to help educate young boaters, the course was named after a 12-year old Oklahoma boy who was killed in a personal watercraft accident on Lake Eufaula in 2004. To help prevent such tragedies in the future, his family pushed for a law requiring boater education for teens. The Kyle Williams Safe Boating Act became law in 2007. It prohibits children between the ages of 12 and 16 years of age; without a valid driver’s license, from operating any vessel powered by a motor of more than 10 horsepower, or sailing vessel 16 feet or longer, without first completing a state-approved boater safety course.

GRDA Police will be offering these courses, for free, on selected Saturdays, March through July (courses run from 8AM to 5PM). Most will be held at the GRDA Ecosystems and Education Center in Langley, though GRDA is also planning one course at Langley City Hall (March 29) and one at the Tulsa Technology Center (April 19).

While children in this age group need to take the course for certification, older adults are also encourage to attend. According to GRDA Officer Jason Littlefield, who has taught several courses over the years, adults can benefit from time in the classroom.

“It’s a really good course,” said Littlefield. “I think it has something for everybody; no matter how old you are. It is something that will benefit you one way or another.”

A possible insurance benefit, opportunity to learn something new (including rules specific to Grand and Hudson lakes) and, ultimately, the chance to set an example for younger boaters, are all good reasons for adults to attend.

For more information, or to register for a course, contact GRDA’s Lori Starks at (918) 256 0644.

Headquartered in Vinita, GRDA is Oklahoma’s state-owned electric utility; fully funded by revenues from electric and water sales instead of taxes. GRDA’s low-cost, reliable power touches 75 of 77 counties in the state. At no cost to Oklahoma taxpayers, GRDA also manages 70,000 surface acres of lakes in the state, including Grand Lake, Lake Hudson and the W.R. Holway Reservoir. Today, GRDA’s 500 employees continue to produce the same “power for progress” that has benefited the state for 75 years.

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