GRDA Police offer life jacket tips for Memorial Day boaters

Headed to the lake for the Memorial Day holiday? If so, the Grand River Dam Authority Police Department reminds you to always wear your life jacket and to boat safe, smart and sober.

As thousands are planning to return to the waters of Grand Lake, Lake Hudson and the Illinois River for the Memorial Day holiday, the Grand River Dam Authority Police Department is reminding them to boat safe, smart and sober.

While the waters do remain open, officers will be enforcing Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt’s current “Safer At Home” executive order related to the COVID-19 situation. Enforcement will include asking boaters to maintain distance between individual boats on the water as well as monitoring docks, boat ramps and shore lines.

GRDA Police also strongly encourage all visitors to wear their life jackets on the water. According to the United States Coast Guard, drowning is the cause of three-fourths of all boating fatalities, and among those fatalities 85 percent of the victims were not wearing life jackets. GRDA is proud to join with the National Safe Boating Council to recognize May 16 – 22, as National Safe Boating Week and takes this opportunity to pass these important life jacket tips:

Buy your own personal life jacket. One size DOES NOT fit all.

Look at the label. It will provide the weight, size and proper use information.

Try it on to check the fit. Once the straps and buckles are secured, it should not slip over your head or come down above your ears.

Never use water toys in place of an approved life jacket.

Check your life jacket yearly for flotation and fit. Make sure it is still in good condition, with no rips or tears.

Finally, wear your life jacket to increase your chance of survival in an accident and to set a good example for others.

As for proper life jacket care, keep these tips in mind too:

Dry it before storing.

Store it in a cool, well-ventilated area.

Keep it where it can be easily retrieved.

Replace it when signs of wear appear.

Don't alter the jacket.

Don't dry clean or use harsh cleansers.

Don't use direct heat to dry or leave in the sun indefinitely.

Don't use your jacket as a cushion, a kneeling pad or as a boat fender.

You should also test your life jacket before using it. The best way to test out the life jacket is by putting the life jacket on and walking into the water until it is up to your chest. Then pick up your feet and tilt your head back; allow your body to float.

If your jacket rides up, try tightening it to your body, but if it continues to rise then you should invest in a smaller jacket or different style of jacket.

A child’s life jacket must fit tight and they should not grow into a life jacket.

If you have an emergency and need immediate assistance while on the water, the GRDA Police encourages you to dial 911. If you don’t have a cell phone available on your boat you can also radio for help on Marine Band 16. The department’s non-emergency number is (918) 256 0911.

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