The Edmond Sun

Local.com

June 22, 2013

Police: Civil obedience includes Arcadia Lake

EDMOND — It’s the first weekend since Arcadia Lake reopened, and officials want to remind guests that rules are rules whether you’re on the road or on the water.

Friday afternoon, when the temperature was about 90 degrees, guests were out enjoying the water boating, skiing, “tubing” and swimming. Temperatures during the next week are expected to be in the low to mid 90s. The lake is at the level it was before the May 31 flash flooding.  

“It will most likely be a busy weekend,” said Edmond Police Department spokeswoman Jenny Monroe. “Boat drivers need to stay alert, watch out for others.”

Monroe said parents need to make sure children age 12 and younger have on a personal floatation device. There is a zero tolerance policy while in the water or on a boat. The fine is $119, Monroe said.

Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Betsy Randolph said people think boats aren’t as dangerous as cars, but they are more so. The effects of alcohol are greater in the water than on land because of dehydration and exposure to the elements.

Eighty percent of boating fatalities involved operators with no boating safety education, according to the OHP. Knowing boating laws and navigational rules before you go to the lake can help prevent costly and tragic accidents.

“Don’t mix boating with alcohol,” Randolph said.

A 2011 state law — Senate Bill 324 —changed the blood alcohol level from .10 to .08 on the water, making it the same threshold as the road. This also affects implied consent where boaters are required to provide a breath or blood test if they are arrested for BUI (boating under the influence). Randolph said OHP personnel arrest people for alcohol-related offenses every day on Oklahoma lakes.

Every vessel is required to carry one U.S. Coast Guard approved wearable life jacket for each person on board. Life jackets must be in good serviceable condition, fit the person who intends to wear it and be readily accessible.

Children age 12-16 are required by law to complete a boating safety class before operating a personal watercraft and/or a motorboat in excess of 10 horse-power.

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