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Lake of the Ozarks officials remind boaters to ‘put safety first’ for the holiday weekend


The Fourth of July is expected to attract large crowds to the Lake of the Ozarks area.

However, with all the extra people comes a lot of crashes and injuries. Mid County Fire Chief Scott Frandsen said Tuesday morning that the Mid County Fire Department Dive Team was already called and responded to a crash ahead of the holiday weekend.

"We do have, unfortunately, a lot of calls. We just had one earlier today, a PWC (personal water craft) accident that required someone to be transported to the hospital," Frandsen said.

In a news release Monday, the Lake of the Ozark's Water Safety Council reminded those who plan to be out on the water during the holiday weekend to "make preparations to stay on the water by putting safety first."

Among the things the council stressed is boating sober. It's illegal in Missouri to operate a boat with a blood-alcohol level of more than 0.08%.

Boating while intoxicated is a Class B misdemeanor in Missouri and is punishable with up to six months in jail and a maximum of $1,000 in fines.

Other rules for safe boating include:

  • Be prepared with the right life jackets – Life jackets must always be the appropriate type for the user’s weight and size. A life jacket must always be worn by anyone on a personal watercraft. Any boat 16 feet long or longer must have a readily accessible and appropriate jacket for each occupant and it is important to have a throwable device.
  • Have a sound-producing device – The device could be as simple as a whistle or horn.
  • Working navigation lights.
  • Carry up-to-date fire extinguishers – Boats are required to carry one or more appropriate fire
    extinguishers with a manufacturer date that is under 12 years.
  • Know the rules of boating - If overtaking another boat, the boat being passed has the right-of-way so stay clear. When meeting head-on, keep to the right. Always be prepared to yield in a dangerous situation.

Norah Springborn said she and her family visit the Lake of the Ozarks throughout the year but mainly during the summer boating season. She said her family has many safety measures on board to keep themselves safe on the water.

"We stay safe by always knowing where our life jackets are in case of an emergency and also being aware of the other boat surrounding us at all times," Springborn said.

Frandsen also stressed the importance of being aware of your surroundings throughout the weekend.

"There's no lanes on the lake, so there's boats coming at you from every different angle. Your head has to be on a swivel and you have to be cognizant at all times of your all your surroundings, Frandsen said.

Last year, the Missouri State Highway Patrol responded to eleven boating crashes and made 10 arrests for boating while intoxicated.

MSHP's holiday counting period will begin 6 p.m. Wednesday.

Article Topic Follows: Lake of the Ozarks

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Olivia Hayes

Olivia is a summer intern at ABC 17 News.


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