Low lake levels an added danger this Memorial Day weekend

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LAKE TEXOMA -- Thousands of boats will be out on Lake Texoma this Memorial Day weekend and lake officials say high traffic along with low lake levels mean an even higher safety concern this year.

Before you start those engines and hit the water lake officials want you to think of safety first. B.J. Parkey, with the Army Corps of Engineers, says Lake Texoma's low water level is an added concern this year.

"With low lake level that's going to bring a few more challenges this holiday weekend. Some of those challenges being exposed stumps, sandbars and some rock bars that are out there that's not typically there when the lake's at current elevation," Parkey said.

"Unloading, loading is even more dangerous, and then you got sandbars and so there's low spots in the middle of the lake that you will hit if you're going fast," Boater Daniel Smith said.

"Take a few extra minutes or hours to get familiar with the lake if you're going to go skiing or tubing, wake boarding. Make sure that the area is clear of under water obstruction. Make sure there is plenty of depth. Parkey said.

But before you leave the dock Parkey says make sure you have all your safety gear on board. Number one on the list -- a coast guard approved life vest. He says 9 out of 10 people who drowned were not wearing a life jacket.

"State law requires children under the age of 13, requires them to maintain a life jacket on at all times while the boat is in motion. So for adults, what does that mean for them? State law does not require them to wear one at all times, but we definitely highly recommend and suggest that they have one on," Parkey said.

Parkey adds that boaters need to have a whistle or horn and a readily accessible fire extinguisher.

For more on lake levels and information regarding boat ramps visit the link below.