A popular place to spend Memorial Day for many people is on the water in area lakes.While the lakes have been very busy this weekend, some say it's more quiet than usual. The water temperature is cooler and the wind has been heavy all weekend, which has made the weekend a little more relaxing."For 34 memorial days, I have been out here on the lake working. I have seen a lot of things happen," says Trooper Tony Richardson with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. "The majority of the things out here that I have witnessed could have been prevented with education."Since this is the first weekend for people to come out on the lake, many are first time boat owners and may not know what they are doing. Most of the time mechanical problems are the first issue OHP and the Army Corp of Engineers see. But this weekend they have seen too many people not paying attention to the wake zones."There aren't any stop lights or lanes out here. So, everything is kind of wide open. You need to pay attention. not only to what you are doing and the occupants in your boat and what the other boaters are doing," says Keystone Lake Lead Ranger, Travis Miller.Although Keystone Lake hasn't seen any major problems, Richardson was part of a rescue on Oologah Lake this weekend and says you have to watch your children at all times."One of the rescues we made, had two eleven year old children on air mattress. They were a mile out on the middle of the lake. They were completely spent, couldn't go anymore, trying to paddle against the wind, no life jackets, we made the rescue, we took them back to the shore line and when we got there no body had even missed them," says Richardson.Those children had been gone for an hour. So Richardson says paying attention is key on the water. That's why it is required for people ages 12 to 16 to go through a free boating class if they are going to drive anything on the water. It's also free for adults and they have seen good results."We have not had a single person involved in a boating accident that's taken the boating safety course," says Richardson.Both OHP and Army Corp of Engineers say if you think you are going to drink and operate a boat they want to tell you one thing."To those people, I say we are probably going to meet. We are going to be out there every weekend over the summer," says Trooper Richardson.The fine for operating under the influence can be up to two thousand dollars and violators could end up in jail.If your child is caught on the water with their life jacket on ages 13 and under, they will get a ticket for a free frosty. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol does offer a free boating class on the weekends at Bass Pro Shops in Broken Arrow.
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