Dos & Don'ts: GRDA Police Provide Floating, Boat Safety Tips For Memorial Day Weekend

The Grand River Dam Authority Police Department is reminding Oklahomans to be safe if they are planning to head out for the water on Memorial Day.

Tuesday, May 21st 2024, 10:16 am

By: News On 6, News 9


The Grand River Dam Authority Police Department is reminding Oklahomans to be safe if they are planning to head out for the water on Memorial Day.

“We encourage everyone to come out and enjoy the beautiful natural resources we have here in Northeast Oklahoma,” said GRDA’s Justin Alberty. “But as you do so, please remember that enjoyable outings on the water always start with floating smart, safe, and sober.”

Water Safety Tips

GRDA Police shared the following “Do’s and Don’ts” for those who are looking to float the river or hit the lake:

  1. DO let the commercial float operator know if anyone in the party is a first-time or novice floater(s). They may be able to pair them with an experienced paddler/floater or float the person in a raft where there is a lesser chance for capsizing.
  2. DON’T dive into the river from bridges, bluffs, stream banks, and trees.
  3. DO WEAR YOUR LIFE JACKET
  4. DO respect the weather and the water. If tired while floating, take a break on the bank or a gravel bar to rest.
  5. DON’T swim or boat alone. Stay within sight of companions.
  6. DO camp only in designated areas.
  7. DON’T take anything on a float trip that could be lost in the river. Check car keys and other personal effects with the commercial float operator for safekeeping.


The GRDA is also asking boaters to stay safe with the following reminders:

  1. Buy your own personal life jacket. One size DOES NOT fit all. Look at the label. It will provide the weight, size, and proper use information.
  2. Try it on to check the fit. Once the straps and buckles are secured, it should not slip over your head or come down above your ears.
  3. Never use water toys in place of an approved life jacket.
  4. Check your life jacket yearly for flotation and fit. Make sure it is still in good condition, with no rips or tears.
  5. Finally, wear your life jacket to increase your chance of survival in an accident and to set a good example for others.

GRDA officials said that smart boating happens when boaters know the ins and outs of their boat and the area they will be visiting.

  1. DO know the water and environment you will be boating on.
  2. DO keep a good lookout while underway.
  3. DO shut your engines off when people are in the water near your boat.
  4. DO observe the nautical “rules of the road.”
  5. DO check the weather forecast before getting underway.
  6. DO keep a balanced load and a trim boat.
  7. DON’T overload your boat.
  8. DON’T ride on the gunwale, bow, seat backs, or any other place that is not designed for sitting.
  9. DO have a float plan. Tell someone where you are going and when you will return.
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