Lake Goers, GRDA Police Prepare For Holiday Weekend At Grand Lake
GROVE, Oklahoma - Oklahoma lakes are already filling up with boaters in anticipation of 4th of July, but with extra people on the water come extra police. At Grand Lake, patrols are already preparing for the busy holiday.
Early in the week, and days away from the holiday, the celebration has begun. At 93 years young, Nita Stonecipher has spent a lifetime of summers on Grand Lake.
"You got to have a little fun, you know," Stonecipher said.
This week she's with her whole family, four generations, and when she's on the water she makes sure she's wearing her life jacket.
"Be a good example for my family," she said.
Children 12 and under must wear a life jacket while riding in most boats. And when it comes to jet skiing, water skiing and tubing, age doesn't matter; you have to have one on.
"If it's not buckled, it's not on because you can come out of those very easily if you go in the water," said Brian Edwards with the Grand River Dam Authority Police.
Edwards and 19 other GRDA police officers will be patrolling the water for the fourth.
Edwards said Grand Lake will have the third highest population in the state this weekend, behind Oklahoma City and Tulsa. The Duck Creek firework show is expected to bring in 2,000 boats to that cove alone.
"All the docks will be full; we'll have people set up in their yards. There will be thousands upon thousands of people here, thousands of people," Edwards said.
With all those people there's bound to be drinking, but Edwards is quick to point out officers carry with them portable Breathalyzers, and won't tolerate anyone operating a boat under the influence or driving one recklessly.
"Just like with anything, it just takes a moment in time, a temporary lapse in judgment and you can have a tragedy really quick," said Edwards.
For Stonecipher's family, it's not about the alcohol; it's about the time away where anything goes.
"Nobody bothers ya. You can look tacky, and nobody cares how you look. You can eat what you want to eat, do what you want to do, got to bed when you want to, wake up when you want to," she said.