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Staying safe on the water - KOAM TV 7

Staying safe on the water

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Canoe rental shops along the Elk River say Memorial Day is one of its busiest days.  With temperatures heating up more people are taking to the water - boating, floating and drinking - which can be a dangerous combination if you're not careful.

Floating the Elk River is a long time tradition for Corey Higgins and his friends.

"A lot of friends don't get to see each other but once a year so this is the time we get to see each other and we have gotten older and kind of gone separate ways - it's just an opportunity for us to come together once a year and hang out," says Higgins.

Joplin native Sam McDonald makes sure he has the essentials before he hits the river.  And the key to making his float trip a success: make sure he and his friends follow the river rules.  He and his friends have a designated driver to get him and his group home safely.

"Things can get kind of rowdy sometimes and that can be expected thing and people make bad choices when they drink alcohol, you just got to know your limits and have a good time without being stupid about it," says McDonald.

Having a designated driver is a good idea because the McDonald County Sheriff's Office is on the lookout for intoxicated drivers.

"There are always those that try to push the envelope and be out there driving while they are drinking and the sheriff's department and the highway patrol and the conservation department all are working hand in hand to keep that at a bare minimum," says Sgt. John Wynn of the McDonald County Sheriff's Office.

Sgt. Wynn says the main goal is not to ruin anyone's celebration, but to make sure everyone can enjoy a safe holiday weekend.

That's not a problem for Natalie Jerry and her three year old grandson.  They've decided to sit out this round of floating.

"We are just hanging out, watching everyone float," says Jerry.  "The river was low so we decided just to come eat, soak in the sun, just have fun."

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