Boating safety stressed as Memorial Day Weekend nears

By: Shelby Levins Email
By: Shelby Levins Email

ARDMORE, OK – This week marks National Safe Boating Week. And with Memorial Day weekend just around the corner, many people are already planning for some fun in the sun. But before you finalize your lake plans, the U.S. Coast Guard has a sobering statistic - 90 percent of drowning victims in recreational boating accidents were not wearing life jackets. So the National Safe Boating Council wants to remind you to practice safety on the water.

For many people nothing beats the clear lake waters and a warm beautiful day. But before you can enjoy that on a boat, you need to have enough life vests for everyone on board.

“I keep quite a few of them in here and they're all different sizes,” said Doug Fugett. “It's not just one size fits all.”

Fugett is a regular boater and says being out on the water is one of his favorite hobbies. While Fuggett likes to mix up the music and bring along friends and families, there’s one thing he never forgets.

“I keep my life vests right in here, that's the number one safety item you need to have,” Fugett said.

Life vests can truly save lives. And they’re mandated by Oklahoma law.

“There is a fine for not having your life vest available and readily assessable on the boat,” said Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Marty Grisham.

OHP says children under the age of 13 are required to wear a life vest at all times on Oklahoma waters. And adults are each required to have a life jacket on board.

“You need to be prepared for the worst but you hope that never happens,” said Fugett. “It's a lot of fun out here on the lake you just have to be safe.”

That’s why Fugget never leaves the shore without his life vests.

According to the latest numbers from the U.S. Coast Guard - 11 people died on Oklahoma waters in boating accidents in 2007. And 46 died in Texas because of boating accidents in 2008. The National safe Boating Council hopes you practice safety at all times out on the water.

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