BRYAN COUNTY, TX -- Hundreds of people are setting up camp around Lake Texoma preparing for their Memorial Day Weekend adventures and though lake officials want people to have a good time they are hoping safety will top everyone's list of activities.
Steve Long and his daughter Remington got their Memorial Day Weekend started early. Long says they have been enjoying Lake Texoma since Wednesday, but says they did not hit the water until they had taken all their safety precautions.
"We have to have our life jackets, all the safety devices, your horn working on your boat, you got to have your PFD to throw out to the swimmer if they ever need it. Make sure you're tagged and registered," Long said.
B.J Parkey, with the Corps of Engineers, says like the Long's he hopes all lake goers will make safety their top priority and do a pre-boat inspection before entering the water. Parkey says some things to make sure you have, a U.S. Coast Guard fire extinguisher, a floatation device you can throw into the water and proper fitting life jackets for everyone.
Parkey says he has helped recover the bodies of several drowning victims and says it is a very traumatic experience.
"Especially when you get to know the stories of how they became in peril, and in most cases they could have been prevented. Either a life jacket was not worn or alcohol or drugs may have been involved," Parkey said.
However, Parkey says safety does not end at the boat inspection. He says being cautious and watching your surroundings at all times is vital.
"There's no speed limit signs out on the lake, there's no yield signs. So it's very important for that boat driver that PWC diver to know the rules of the water, and again be considerate of others," Parkey said.
Parkey says there were eight fatalities on Lake Texoma last year, but is hopeful with safe boaters there will not be any this year.
"Lets have a great weekend. Let's have a safe weekend and hope to see everyone live and well Tuesday morning," Parkey said.
"Just be careful and watch out for other boaters," Long said.
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