Folks across Oklahoma are ready to kick off the long Labor Day weekend and many people are ready to celebrate on the lake or river.
“We're just out here to enjoy ourselves and get some sunshine,” said Tracy Jeffreys.
Jeffreys and her granddaughter Sara Hoover set out in kayaks on a peaceful day on the Illinois River in Tahlequah Thursday. The grandmother/granddaughter duo is floating to celebrate their move from California to Hulbert, Oklahoma one year ago.
“We're Oklahomans now. We love this state,” Jeffreys said.
On this day, the pair pretty much has the river to themselves, but GRDA's Justin Alberty says they're gearing up for a busy weekend on the water.
The GRDA will have at least 12 officers patrolling this holiday weekend... some of them on land, others in the water.
“They'll be very visible. What they want to do is make sure people are staying are staying safe,” said Alberty.
He says the most important thing anyone can do is wear a life jacket when out on the water.
It's the law for children 13 and under for both rivers and lakes.
“We'd prefer that everybody has a life jacket on. Mom and dad can really set a good example for the kids if they wear a life jacket,” Alberty said.
He says two people have drowned on the Illinois River this summer and multiple others on bodies of water in Oklahoma.
“Every drowning situation is different, but what we want to do and just remind people is to respect the water, the flow of the water,” said Alberty.
With recent rain, the water on the Illinois might be moving a little faster, so Alberty says watch for debris, stay with your group and don't dive into the water.
Jeffreys and her granddaughter say it's easy to safe and still have fun.
“Tracy Enjoy the scenery, enjoy the rivers, there's so much to enjoy here,” Jeffreys said.
The GRDA says folks should keep in mind alcohol is a leading factor in drownings and slows your ability to react.