Boating safety tips

By: Christine Nicholson Email
By: Christine Nicholson Email

TEXOMA -- Accidents are not just limited to roadways but on the water as well. Here are some tips to stay safe while boating this summer.

Lake officials say boating accidents typically occur around holidays like July 4th weekend when most tickets are written. Oklahoma Highway Patrol says, although the 4th of July is now behind us, we should stay cautious of alcohol-related boating accidents this summer.

Whether you're diving, fishing, boating or swimming, Oklahoma Highway Patrol officer, Michael Green says the cause of most lake accidents involve alcohol.

"Drinking and driving a boat is just as illegal as drinking and driving a car," said Green. "We're going to be out there on the lakes looking for them and there's going to be people taken to jail for it. So just don't put yourself in that situation. Be mindful of the people around you."

As a regular boater for over 15 years, Carter County resident Steve Stephens says, he's still concerned about the driving of others.

"People need to realize that drinking and driving is unsafe. When you do drink, it makes you feel invincible sometimes, and then you really get carried away, and you're a danger to yourself, everybody in your boat, and everybody on the lake with you," said Stephens.

Since boats don't have brakes, there's an added risk of collision and drowning. Officer Green points out, "Boats don't drop on a dime like your car's do so there's no forgiveness."

With Lake Texoma being the 12th largest lake in the U.S., authorities suspect the lake season is sure to bring plenty of boaters, and with that, an increased risk of accidents.

If you plan to visit the lake this summer, officials ask that you:

Pay attention to local weather reports.

Don't swim alone.

Have life jackets on board for everyone in the boat.

Make sure there aren't too many people on board for the size of your boat.

And just like Officer Green suggests, if you are going to drink, make sure you have a designated driver. Remember, those convicted of boating while intoxicated could face a large fine and jail time.

"Think safety at all times," he said. "If you're safe, then the people around you are going to be safer and that's what we're looking for. Just to make sure that everybody drives safe."

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