OHP says July 4th weekend on Lake Texoma one of the safest yet - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

OHP says July 4th weekend on Lake Texoma one of the safest yet

BRYAN COUNTY, OK -- OHP Lake Patrol says the weekend of July 4th always brings in the most crowds on Lake Texoma. To keep up with the high traffic on the water, troopers sent out more boats to patrol.

The Fourth of July is set up for a perfect day out on Lake Texoma. It’s the middle of the summer and the water is at its warmest. Troopers and boaters say this year was no exception and has not only been successful, but one of the safest yet.

“The fishing was slow because there was a lot of boats out there,” said Quentin Schultz. “But it was fun.”

With so much activity on the lake this weekend, OHP Troopers increased their presence on the water.

“It’s been great,” said Trooper Greg Williams, “we’ve had a lot of people out. For the most part, they’ve been real safe. We’ve contacted a lot of boats, educated a lot, passed out a few life jackets where they short.”

Williams says OHP tries to patrol as much of the lake as they can every weekend. But with the lake’s size, it can get difficult.

“Our lake’s spread out over 25 miles and we have a lot of marinas on both sides,” he said, “in Texas and Oklahoma. We try to make it through each area every day.”

Williams tells KTEN boaters have been cooperative and safe this year, but OHP continues to remind lake goers how important a properly fitted life jacket is.

“As rough as our lake is,” he said, “if you’re not wearing the proper life jacket, and one that’s rated for speed, the buckles can break. So it’s best to spend a little extra money and buy one that fits.”

Along with wearing life jackets and paying attention to the radar, lake goers say proper boating etiquette has kept the water safe for them.

“We keep our distance,” said Schultz, “like we would prefer to have our distance. So if someone’s fishing, we won’t get within 100 yards of them.”

And while Williams says the lake level has gone up three feet, there are still many shallow areas boaters need to be on the lookout for.

“The same ones you could see the stumps earlier,” he said, “now there’s just six or eight inches below the water. You can still hit them and you can’t see them now.”

Williams says a contributing factor to boaters’ safety this weekend could be last weekend’s Operation Dry Water program. Boaters expected to see more patrol on the water and he says responded well with good behavior.