New safety hazards to be aware of on Lake Texoma this season - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

New safety hazards to be aware of on Lake Texoma this season

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DENISON, TX -- The Army Corps of Engineers says five people lose their lives on Lake Texoma each year, but they say that number could go down if more people practiced safe boating. Experts say the lake is approaching nine feet low, the lowest they've seen in decades.

"When you're out boating and when you're on the shore playing,” said Shelly Morgan, Executive Director of Lake Texoma Association, “make sure that you realize this is not the lake that we've always known."

If you plan on spending your Memorial Day weekend on Lake Texoma, experts say it might look a little different.

"What a lot of folks might see right now are some sand bars that they're not used to,” said BJ Parkey with the Army Corps of Engineers, “some underwater hazards they might not be aware of such as some tree stumps or some old piling, some rocks that are creeping up."

Parkey advises boaters to use a depth finder and always wear a life vest or have one at a reachable distance.

"If you're driving across the lake going forty miles per hour in your boat,” said Parkey, “and hit an underwater hazard and you're ejected from the boat, you might be knocked unconscious. And if you're knocked unconscious, without a life jacket, well your survival rate has definitely decreased."

Experts also worry about boaters speeding in the shallow areas.

"We need to make sure we're not cruising our boats at top speed across the lake,” said Morgan.

Wood Island has a popular cut, where boaters moved from the west side of the lake into the main area. But right now, it’s very dry with several tree stumps and rocks preventing boats from using the cut through. And with more dry land. Morgan urges the non-boaters to drink responsibly, for parents to watch out for their children and to clean up all trash.

"We're just at the beginning of the season, so you want to make sure that every weekend coming here after that the lake is beautiful for everyone to enjoy,” she said.

And with more shoreline exposed, the sand might look inviting for off-roading activity. But Parkey tells us they'll be on the lookout for four wheelers and other vehicles, ready to give out citations.