For many lake enthusiasts, the July 4th holiday marks the high point of the summer season on Oklahoma’s water playgrounds.
The Grand River Dam Authority’s Grand and Hudson lakes are certainly no exception, as large crowds are expected to hit the water for boating, swimming, skiing, tubing, cruising or simply relaxing along the shore.
With that in mind, officials with the GRDA Police Department remind lake visitors that “boating safe, boating smart and boating sober” is still the best way to spend time on the water.
One very special message the GRDA Police share with Grand Lake visitors each Fourth of July is the reminder that special boating rules are in effect for the Duck Creek arm of the lake. Those rules are as follows:
• All watercraft wider than 8.5 feet shall operate at “Idle” and avoid producing a wake at all times in Duck Creek. (If the vessel is wider than 8.5 feet, Duck Creek is no wake for the vessel at all times regardless of length).
• All watercraft longer than 30 feet shall operate at “Idle” and avoid producing a wake at all times in Duck Creek. (If the vessel is longer than 30 feet, Duck Creek is no wake for the vessel at all times regardless of width).
• All watercraft smaller than both measurements listed above may operate on plane not to exceed 30 mph in Duck Creek from official sunrise to official sunset.
• All watercraft must “Idle” and avoid producing a wake from official sunset to official sunrise (night time) in Duck Creek between May 1 and Oct 1. (No wake in Duck Creek for all vessels at night).
• All Watercraft must stay to the right of the center lane of buoys and at least 150 feet away from any dock, breakwater, structure, or shoreline.
• On the actual day of the Duck Creek Fireworks (Monday, July 3, 2017) all watercraft shall operate at “Idle” and avoid producing a wake at all times in Duck Creek (all day, all night).
• The area known as “The Turn” (area near Harbor’s View and Ugly John’s) is a no wake zone for all vessels at all times.
The following tips can also be helpful to lake visitors as they plan a trip to GRDA lakes this summer.
· Before you leave the dock, know the stability, load capability and handling of the vessel you are operating. Remember, every boat is different. Check the water conditions and know where hazards like sandbars and stump beds are located.
· Before you leave the dock, check the weather conditions. Don’t get caught on the lake in a storm you could have avoided.
· Airplane pilots file a flight plan. Boaters need a float plan. Tell someone responsible where you are going and when you expect to return.
· Don’t drink and boat! Most lake accidents are alcohol related. Don’t become a statistic.
· All boats must be equipped with certain safety equipment, but this equipment is useless if you don’t know how to use it. Learn how to properly use all the safety equipment on your boat.
· Double-check to see if you have all the required safety equipment on your boat:
‐ Life jackets (for all passengers)
‐ Bailing device
‐ Fire extinguisher
‐ Horn or whistle
‐ Throwable cushions
‐ Operating boat lights