Staying safe on the lake: tips and instructions from OHP

Published: May. 26, 2023 at 6:21 PM CDT
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ARDMORE, Okla. (KXII) - Game wardens and state troopers are working overtime this Memorial Day weekend to keep people safe at the lake.

Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper Casey Hall said he’s hoping visitors at Lake Murray will stay safe.

“The number one thing you can do to avoid an accident or a major tragedy is just be aware of your surroundings,” Hall said.

Last summer 7 people drowned in Lake Murray.

Hall said many of them would still be here if they’d worn life jackets.

“A lot of people think they’re just a great swimmer,” Hall said. “But people get tired and things come about and you just go under and panic. Just put a life jacket on and you’ll be a lot better off.”

Hall said his job would be easier if boaters learned about water safety before buying a boat. He says the laws aren’t made to be difficult, they’re just to keep people safe.

Hall said if you’re the owner of a boat or other watercraft, you need to show anyone who operates it where everything is.

If it’s not all on board, the person operating it could get a citation.

That includes life jackets, a fire extinguisher, a whistle or horn, and registration.

“A lot of people kinda get to that rush mode,” Hall said. “They want to get out to the lake, hurry hurry hurry, they just don’t take their time and do the proper safety checks so that their boat is ready to go when they get there.”

Finally, make sure you’re driving slowly around swimmers, and keep an eye out on the propeller.

“Just be safe out here this weekend,” Hall said. “Avoid drinking if at all possible, and have a designated driver. Drink lots of water and wear a life jacket.”