After Texoma Drowning Incidents, Officials Give Safety Advice - - Texoma news, weather and sports

After Texoma Drowning Incidents, Officials Give Safety Advice

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DENISON, TX--Many accidents and drownings occur simply because locals aren't prepared.  And one lake official says that many of those who almost drown didn't plan on getting in the water that day.

Even the clothes you wear can affect your chances of drowning.

"Last year--matter of fact--here at Denison Dam right below the powerhouse we  had a near drowning with a lady who entered the river fully clothed with blue jeans on and a heavy shirt," BJ Parkey said, Assistant Lake Manager. 

Blue jeans can absorb water and make it hard for a swimmer to stay afloat.  Parkey says to try to wear light clothing or a bathing suit when going to the lake. 

Even shallow water can be dangerous.  Denison Dam has a hydro-powered release that has a warning siren, but Parkey says that even when the surface is calm, there can be a strong current underneath. 

"The further you get down the generation point here at Denison Dam, the surface water may be calm, but that could be misleader," Parkey said. "There's always going  to be a strong current somewhere in the stream."

A hidden current can carry a swimmer away.  Parkey says that not wearing a life jacket is the number one cause for drownings.

"First and foremost, always wear your life jacket," Parkey said. "Matter of fact, the state law requires children 12 years and under to have one at all times."

Wearing a life jacket is especially important if the water is murky, which could make it difficult to find someone if they're submerged. 

Terry Register had a few near-drowning experiences as a child.  He says he wears a jacket when he takes his kayak out. 

"You just never know," Register said. "It's too murky. You got a kid with you and the kid goes down; you can't see underwater and find him.  You got to feel around and get lucky."

Register says his kayak once got a hole in it, and wearing a life jacket helped him get to shore.

Not everybody can swim across the lake.  I know I can't," Register said. 

Whether at the beach or the town lake, taking these precautions can save a life.

The US Corps of Engineers also advises to boat safely, drink responsibly, and keep a close eye on kids.  It only takes 20 seconds for a small child to drown.

-Jen French, KTEN News