Safety study on Okla. state parks & lakes approved

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ARDMORE, OK--Oklahoma State Representative Pat Ownbey's request to have a study done to improve the safety of state lakes and parks was recently approved.

The study will look into several state park safety issues like whether or not kids under a certain age should be required to take a safety courses before operating a watercraft.

Letha Crouse said she loves riding on her jet ski with her son and would never let him drive it until he was old enough, but thinks even older kids should be better prepared for driving on the water.

"Individuals that are 16, of age to drive, I believe it would be beneficial for them to take a course on boat safety as well as jet ski safety " said Crouse.

Cash Campbell agrees the study is a good idea. He works at Lake Murray state park and said there are several safety issues that need a second look but two in particular he sees too often on the water.

"Drunk driving and not driving with a light on at night time" said Campbell.

The request for the study came after 4 state park related deaths occurred over Memorial day weekend including a deadly boating accident that claimed the life of Ardmore woman, Robbie Brooks. Campbell says he grew up with brooks son.

"He was on the boat whenever another boat hit them, and his mom passed away during that wreck. The guy who hit them wasn't drunk, but there were some light issue involved and he really couldn't see the other boat" said Campbell.

Representative Ownbey said the study will look into other park issues like whether or not people can carry guns but that the focus is primarily on boating safety.

"Safety with lights on the boat, with the proper training , with alcohol that may come into play and those are the things that were going to be looking at" said Ownbey.

Ownbey said the study might point to a need for new legislation or it may not but he encourages the public to share their ideas.

"I would invite anyone who has input they're welcome to give my office a call" said Ownbey.

The study will be completed this fall.

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