LAWTON, Okla._Lawton Lake Patrol is already out in full force protecting boaters and passengers this holiday weekend.
With amped up patrols at Lake Lawtonka and Lake Ellsworth, officers warn boats can be stopped at any time to be checked for proper boating permits and lake violations, including operating a water vessel while under the influence, and for the first time, the discharging of fireworks.
Lake patrol says fines can reach up to $700 if violators are caught with anything from a sparkler to a black cat at the lake. For a safe Fourth of July holiday at the lake, this is just one of the many rules they say must be followed.
Going to the lake every year has become a tradition for many lake goers, including Julie Maysick. She says they were disappointed that fireworks aren't allowed this year, but they are still planning on enjoying their holiday at the lake.
"Just because it was a tradition of coming out here and just getting together and having a good time hanging out with everybody," Maysick said.
Lawton Police Sergeant Kurt Short has been patrolling these lakes for almost 20 years. He says accidents happen when people aren't paying attention on the lake.
"Just a lot of people being careless. You know, not really watching out for the people around them. Not being considerate of others," said Short.
Short says if you decide to drink at the lake please drink responsibly.
"Monitor your own alcohol consumption. That is one of our biggest issues out here. They need to be aware of that they can be arrested for operating under influence as well as driving under the influence out here on the water," said Short.
Short says following the May floods, boaters are faced with another hazard they should be aware of before entering the water.
"Be cautious of the extra debris that is floating around in the lake. Some of it is large trees that are floating out there, which could be extremely hazardous to a boat or skiers or a jet sky, that sort of thing," said Short.
Even with all the rules, Maysick says she plans on making the most of her time at the lake.
"Just get out in the sun and have some fun. Enjoy the three days off," said Maysick.
The Lawton Fire Department Dive Team and a fire marshal will be on hand Saturday just in case they are needed.