Langley – The arrival of the long Labor Day weekend marks an opportunity for many lake enthusiasts to return to the waters of Grand and Hudson lakes for at least one more summer outing. If your plans include a lake visit to Grand River Dam Authority waters, the GRDA Police Department reminds you to keep these safe boating tips in mind:
• DO wear a life jacket. They float. You don’t.
• DO know the water and the environment you will be boating on.
― Please note: Due to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) mandated drawdown of Grand Lake; the lake’s elevation is expected to be at 741’ feet during Labor Day weekend. Please take extra precautions when boating as the lake will be approximately three feet lower than the normal boating season elevation of 744’.
• DO keep a good lookout while underway.
• DO shut your engines off when people are in the water near your boat.
• DO observe the nautical “rules of the road.”
• DO check the weather forecast before getting underway.
• DO keep a balanced load and trim boat.
• DON’T overload your boat.
• DON’T ride on the gunwale, bow, seat backs or any other place that is not designed for sitting.
• Finally, DON’T DRINK AND BOAT. (The majority of lake accidents are alcohol-related).
For those planning on hitting the water on a personal watercraft (PWC), the GRDA Police also offers these important safety tips:
• Don’t ride tired: PWC operation requires a real sense of balance. Tired operators do not have as much balance, which means less controlled operation.
• Watch the weight: Don’t carry more passengers or weight than is recommended in your PWC’s owner manual. The heavier the load, the harder it is to handle and turn your PWC.
• Watch out for others: Because lake traffic changes constantly, riders have to be very aware of their surroundings at all times.
• Know what the craft is capable of: Just because you have ridden a PWC before, don’t assume they are all the same. For the most part, they are very similar, but riders must be educated about the specifics of the craft they are operating.
• Know where you are: It is very important to know your location on the water. Are you near hazards such as rocks, buoys or sandbars? Are you in a place that is popular with skiers? Even though PWCs are designed to operate in shallow waters, it is important to remember that shallow water can become no water in a hurry. Avoid such areas.
• Never drink and ride: PWC operation requires clear thinking, quick decisions, the ability to focus, depth perception, ability to judge speed and distance and ability to track moving objects. Alcohol impairs all these abilities while also affecting balance. Oftentimes, PWC injuries occur when people fall into the water and are too inebriated to climb back on board.
• Watch your speed: Many PWC accidents are a result of excessive speed. PWC operators must match their speed to their skills. Don’t be overmatched by traveling too fast.
Finally, the GRDA Police reminds boaters that Oklahoma boating laws and GRDA lake rules require children age 12 and under to wear a United States Coast Guard-approved flotation device on any moving boat less than 26 feet in length. Also, all vessels must carry approved personal flotation devices (PFDs) for each person on board. However, GRDA urges all boaters to set a good example for the children – and increase your chances of survival in an accident – by wearing your lifejacket at all times.
For more information on the GRDA Police Department or information on how an officer can assist you, contact the department at (918) 256 0911, or visit online at grda.com. If you need assistance from your boat, radio GRDA Police on Marine Band 16.
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