Oklahoma Lake Patrol Trooper Shares 4 Things Every Boater Should Know
TULSA, Oklahoma - Thousands of Oklahomans are celebrating on the water this Fourth of July weekend.
Lake patrol troopers will tell you there are many people on the water who are inexperienced or don't pay attention. They say there are a few things every boater should know.
Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Danny Choat has worked four lake fatalities in the past two weeks, and he doesn't want to see any more lives lost on the water. He wants people to know the laws and follow them.
True or false: if you get a DUI on the water, it counts on your drivers license.
"Right now, on the lakes in Oklahoma, you can get a DUI. It's called operating under the influence. It's OUI. But right now, we don't have the provision where it goes actually against your driving record," Choat said.
It does go on your record if you are drunk and cause a fatality crash. They say if you are going to drink, have a designated driver.
True or false: you only need enough jackets in your boat for the number of kids in your boat.
Choat said, "Got to be a life jacket for everybody on board. Kids under 13 years of age and under have got to wear it at all times. Plus, adults have to have one that is the correct size and the body weight for them."
Too often, he says people have the right number, but they are in a storage compartment and people can't get to them in time if there is an emergency.
True or false: it is okay to have a young child ride in front of you on a wave runner.
"Look, if the kid's not big enough to drive - 12 years of age - he needs to be behind. And if he can't hold on behind, he don't need to be on the lake. It's very dangerous," Choat said.
Trooper Choat said boating is a recreational sport, but there are many things to remember to make sure it is not just fun, but also safe. He said education is the key to safety.
True or false: there is a speed limit on the lakes.
"Only thing we have now in Oklahoma is when you see a white buoy that says 'No Wake,' that means go as slow as you can. Idle speed, no wake zone," Choat said.
Fourteen people have died on Oklahoma lakes so far this year, and troopers say most of those could've been prevented.
But even if you do everything right, troopers will tell you a lot of people don't, so just like when you are behind the wheel of a car, the best offense is a good defense.