Drownings in Oklahoma encourage increased lake safety

Drownings in Oklahoma encourage increased lake safety

WAURIKA LAKE, OK (KSWO) - The number of drownings on Oklahoma lakes has reached the double digits since May. That includes an 18-year-old who drowned in Frederick Lake on Friday. The US Army Corps of Engineers is now putting the spotlight on safety first at many of the lakes it patrols.

No drownings at Waurika Lake this year, but lake goers have drowned in the past.

"Accidents are unexpected," Tim Atkins, Waurika Lake Manager said.

Atkins said Waurika Lake has had 6 drownings in the past 30 years, 3 happening in 2015. But they all have one thing in common.

"All of the fatalities out here on Waurika Lake were 100 percent preventable," Atkins said.

He said the lack of life jackets is key.

"There is not more occurrences falling from a boat or from a swimming area," Atkins said. "But all of the incidents of a drowning that have occurred out here, none of them were wearing their life jackets."

Not only are life jackets and other safety devices on a boat needed to keep you safe, it's the law.

"If you're in a boat, if you're over the age of 12, you don't legally have to have it on but you have to have one in the boat with you," Atkins said. "But it's always a good idea to be wearing it at all times."

Atkins said planning a safe trip is just as important as planning a fun trip.

"I would think most people before they come out to a lake or something like that they probably make a list of stuff they need from a grocery store and we just want people to put safety equipment on the top of that list," Atkins said. "Because if you don't have, it you don't use it."

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