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GRDA Police encouraging safe boating for Memorial Day weekend - KOAM TV 7

GRDA Police encouraging safe boating for Memorial Day weekend

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NEWS RELEASE FROM THE GRAND RIVER DAM AUTHORITY

Boat safe, smart and sober …
GRDA Police encouraging safe boating for Memorial Day weekend

Langley – Boat safe, boat smart and boat sober.

That is a primary message shared by the Grand River Dam Authority Police Department as thousands of lake visitors head to the waters of Grand and Hudson lakes for the beginning of the busy summer boating season. Of course, Memorial Day Weekend is a great start to that season and GRDA officers want all those who will be boating, swimming, skiing, tubing, fishing or just cruising to have a safe and memorable experience at the lake.

Those safe outings really start with preparation. If you plan on being on the boat this season, here are a few tips you need to keep in mind to help boat safe, smart and sober:

  • Check the water conditions before you head out. Know where the hazards, like sandbars or stump beds, are located in the water.
  • Before you ever leave the dock, check the weather conditions. Do not get caught on the lake in a storm you could have avoided.
  • Like an airplane pilot that files a flight plan, you need to file a float plan. Tell someone responsible where you are going and when you expect to return.
  • Do not drink and boat! It is a bad idea. Most lake accidents are alcohol related. Do not become a statistic.
  • Finally, if you need assistance on the waters of Grand or Hudson lakes, 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.

Even as you do these things to prepare for your lake outing, there is also some required safety equipment and other things you need to take along:

  • Personal flotation devices (PFDs, life jackets) for all passengers on the boat
  • Oars
  • An anchor
  • Bailing devices
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Working lights
  • Horn or whistle
  • Registration

Items needed on a personal watercraft (PWC) include:

  • Registration
  • Kill switch
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Horn or whistle
  • Life jacket

The importance of life jacket usage cannot be stressed enough. Statistics from the United States Coast Guard show that drowning was the reported cause of death in almost 75 percent of all boating fatalities in 2012 (most recent statistics). And of those that drowned, 85 percent were not wearing life jackets.

The GRDA Police Department wants to see those percentages drop and will continue to promote life jacket usage this year with its “I Got Caught” campaign. If a GRDA officer “catches” you wearing your life jacket while boating on Grand or Hudson lakes, they just might reward you with a special “I Got Caught” t-shirt. Wearing a life jacket while boating helps to set a good example for children and certainly increases your chance of survival in an accident.

Finally, be sure to pick up your copy of the 2014-15 GRDA Lake Guide when you visit the lakes area this summer. The guide is full of information on boating and water safety, and also contains lake rules and regulations, as well as other information GRDA and its lake operations in Oklahoma. The guide is available at the GRDA Ecosystems and Education Center in Langley, as well as other businesses in the area. It can also be viewed online at grda.com; just click on the “News” tab then “GRDA Publications>2014-2015 Lake Guide.”

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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