What Oklahoma Boaters Need to Know Heading Into Memorial Day Weekend

Friday, May 27th 2022, 5:34 pm

As many Oklahomans prepare to visit state lakes this weekend, Oklahoma Highway Patrol is preparing to be “very visible” on the water. 

After a week with multiple days of rain, Trooper Eric Foster said boaters may encounter significant debris on the water like trees or rocks hidden under the surface of the water. 

“It can create more of a danger for swimmers. You're pulling a tube or something behind a boat, you have to be aware of the different things in the waterway,” Foster said.  

The US Army Corps of Engineers website shows the most recent reading of lake and river water levels, many of which were elevated earlier this week. Click here to visit the USACE website. 

The Oklahoma Department of Public Safety has a checklist of safety equipment every boat should have on the water. Click here to visit the DPS Boat Safety page

Passengers 12 years old and younger are required to have a floatation device, or life jacket, while on the boat. Foster said troopers will be prepared to stop boaters to ensure that all safety measures are followed.   

“A trooper can stop and talk to any vessel that's on the waterway to make sure that it's safe, they're called safety checks,” he said. “You can be given a citation, a ticket, just like a speeding ticket, they cost a lot of money, all the way up to impound if there are other violations.” 

Intoxicated boaters are always a significant concern for OHP. 

“We really see is intoxicated driving” during the summer months, Foster said. “A lot of these boat crashes… there's alcohol involved.” 

“The Oklahoma Highway Patrol is not out looking to crash your party. Really, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol is looking for those dangerous situations that you might not even recognize.”