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Lake safety takes priority over holiday weekend

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LAWTON, Okla._This Memorial Day weekend, many families will head to the lake for the first time of the summer and police say they'll be joining them to ensure everyone has a safe holiday weekend.

Lawton Lake Patrol officers will be working overtime while on and around lakes Lawtonka and Ellsworth, keeping an eye on boaters, their passengers and other lake goers while reminding them to stay safe.

Officers will be conducting boat inspections at the docks, making sure there are enough life jackets on board for every boat and that boats are not exceeding their maximum capacity. Even though it's not summer just yet, officers say two recent boating incidents in our area, where one man drowned and other nearly drowned, is proof that more caution needs to be taken while on the water.

Sergeant Eric Weatherly says they have been fortunate enough to not have any major accidents on the lake last year or this year as of yet. He also says the precautions you take on the road should also be applied while on water.

"There is a speed limit on the lake, 35 miles per hour after dark. To be quite honest with you, 35 is quite fast after dark. Even if you're in your boat doing everything you should be, you never expect the person in the other boat that they're going to be doing the right thing," said officer Weatherly.

Weatherly says they are expecting a large turnout of people this weekend, due to other lakes in texoma being low, and says being courteous to other boaters is key to a safe holiday.

"When they are one hundred yards away from shore or less, they need to be at idle speed. That's for the safety of boaters and for the safety of those that are swimming or otherwise. If they’re within one hundred yards of another boat they need to be at idle speed," explained Weatherly.

He says if you plan on drinking while boating, make sure to have a sober driver.

"That's what we're sent out here to do, to make sure everyone is safe and they get to go home and that we don't have to make some type of notification that no one ever wants to make," said Weatherly.

Weatherly says one rule to stick by while on the water is use common sense.

As a reminder, since we are still under a burn ban, you can not start fires at camp sites. But, you can grill as long as it is done over a non-flammable surface that is at least five feet from flammable vegetation.

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