Is Oklahoma Doing Enough To Ensure Boater Safety?

Saturday, July 2nd 2011, 10:04 pm
By: News 9

Jon Jordan, News 9

NORMAN, Oklahoma – With thousands of Oklahomans at area lakes this weekend, a question being raised is whether the state does enough to ensure safety on the water.

According to state law, Oklahomans 16 and over can drive a boat with to education whatsoever.

Some would like to see that law changed.

Linda Sadler wasn't taking time off for a holiday weekend. In fact, working for the Coast Guard Auxiliary, Sadler was working extra hard.

"I am out here today passing out Oklahoma boat law books," she said.

Sadler, who recently moved to Oklahoma from Florida, was stunned by the lack of education boaters here receive.

"If you came out here for about a half an hour, you would probably see maybe five or ten people doing something wrong. That's quite a bit of people. That's Oklahoma for you," Sadler said.

"There's a lot of people here that think they can buy a boat and just back it in the water and drive it like they do a car down the street. And that's not the way it happens," she said.

Randy Navarro said he's been boating for about six years and said safety on the water is something he takes seriously.

"Always had a life vest on. There are horn, bells, whistle to blow to let everyone know where we're going. So safety is always a part," Navarro said.

Navarro said while there are many others who take safety seriously, there are many who don't. All in all, however he thinks current boating laws are just about right.

"I am happy with the restrictions as they are," he said. "I don't think they are too loose or too restrictive."

Sadler, on the other hand, said that when it comes to teaching boating safety, "the state could be doing a lot more."

In Oklahoma, boat operators 16 years old and over are not required to have any education to operate a boat. Safety education is, however, strongly recommended by state officials.