OHP warns boaters to take caution on the Fourth

"The Lake Patrol Section of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol would like to remind boaters venturing out for Independence Day festivities that many of our lakes are significantly above normal levels. The topography of these lakes will be different than when they are at normal lake levels, and obstructions and hazards to navigation may not be visible.

In the past, boaters on unfamiliar waters when the water is high have struck submerged picnic tables and charcoal grills," said Captain George Green, Boating Law Administrator.  "Additionally, we would like to remind boaters going out to watch fireworks on the water of the importance of anchoring from the bow. The bow is designed to ride up over waves and wakes from other vessels while waves and wakes from other vessels often break over the square stern causing many boats to swamp, then capsize," Captain Green said.

Troopers of the Lake Patrol Section will be out in force this weekend to assist the boating public and enforce the law. Troopers will be especially watching for violations of Oklahoma's "Operating a Vessel Under the Influence" laws, and safety violations including Reckless Operation, Careless Operation, proximity violations, and equipment violations such as unapproved or too few life jackets.

Captain Green said, "The Kyle Williams Boating Safety Education Act, where every operator between the ages of 12 and 16 must be supervised by an adult and in possession of an approved boating safety education certification card to operate a boat or personal watercraft, will be strictly enforced."