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Boating safety tips offered for July 4 holiday with elevated lake levels

Oklahoma lakes and boats
Posted at 12:56 PM, Jul 02, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-02 13:56:16-04

The Grand River Dam Authority is offering boating safety tips for the July 4 holiday with elevated lake levels across the state.

Th levels of Grand Lake and Lake Hudson will be above normal elevations for the holiday after heavy rains across the region, and officials are urging boaters to use extreme caution.

“Both Grand and Hudson lake will be open for business for all those who plan to celebrate our great country’s independence day on the water,” said GRDA Executive Vice President/Chief of Law Enforcement Brian Edwards. “We just stress that everyone uses safe boating practices. While the water in both lakes has begun to clear, boater should always be on the lookout for hazards in the water and be mindful of their surroundings.”

Read the following tips from GRDA police:

• Be aware of floating debris. Higher lake levels can mean more driftwood and debris floating in the water. Please be on the lookout as you are boating.

• Watch your wake. With elevated lake levels, boat wakes can roll up onto neighboring properties, and possibly cause damage to areas that are normally above the water line. All boat operators are responsible for their wakes. Be mindful of yours and watch out for your neighbor.

• Be mindful of the changing shoreline topography and the possibility of now-submerged structures. Things like stumps, picnic tables, retaining walls and other structures typically located along the shoreline may now be submerged due to the lake levels. Use extreme caution and avoid unfamiliar areas of the shoreline.

• Stay away from floodgates and spillways. There is a chance that floodgates could be open at both Pensacola Dam (Grand Lake) and Robert S. Kerr Dam (Lake Hudson) as you are boating. If that is the case, please observe the buoys designating the spillway areas and allow plenty of distance between those locations and your boat.

• Do not go into spillway areas below the dam. Please use common sense and stay away from areas below floodgates where water is being released. It is against the law to enter floodwater discharge. Besides, the swift water can be very dangerous.

• If you need immediate assistance, the GRDA Police recommends you call 911. However, if you are on the boat with no cell phone access, you can use Marine Band 16 to radio for help.

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