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Cold Water Boating

Cold Water Boating
Boating in cold weather can be exhilarating, but it also puts you at risk of falling into dangerously cold waters. Even boating in warm weather can be dangerous if the water is much colder than the air. With cooler temperatures, there is added responsibility for boaters to be prepared for unexpected hazards. It’s important for a boater to have the proper gear when boating in cold weather, including wearing the proper clothing for the water temperature (not air temperature). Often boaters venture out alone on early morning fishing or hunting trips during the cooler temperatures, so it’s crucial they are prepared for the unexpected. As a general rule, if the air and water temperature added together equal less than 100 degrees Fahrenheit you should take the following steps:
1. Proper clothing. Wear waterproof fabrics and layer clothing (i.e. layer 1 wicking base, layer 2 clothing for added warmth, layer 3 outer shell to keep out water or wind). Avoid cotton as it absorbs water and quickly reduces body temperature. Please note that water resistant fabrics will eventually let water through.
2. Float coat. A float coat provides the comfortable fit and warmth of an insulated jacket, while providing the functionality of a life jacket. A float coat does not provide hypothermia protection and does not replace anti-exposure coveralls or a dry suit. Be sure it is U.S. Coast Guard-approved.
3. Dry suit. A dry suit, or anti-exposure coveralls, keeps the boater dry and protects them from hypothermia. It is worn over proper clothing layers. A boater should be sure to try it on with the clothing layers to ensure they still have needed mobility for the boating activity.
4. Life jacket. If the boater is not wearing a float coat, they should wear their life jacket at all times while on the water. A life jacket that does not need to be manually deployed is the better option for the lone boater in case they are rendered unconscious and unable to deploy their manual inflatable life jacket. Wear inflatable life jackets over, never under, all clothing, including rain coats.
5. Communication devices. A boater should carry at least two communication devices that will work when wet, such as a VHF FM-DSC marine band radio and an EPIRB or PLB.
6. Blankets. Keep emergency spare blankets on board in case someone is suffering from hypothermia symptoms.
7. Bring extra clothes in a dry bag and keep them on the boat just in case someone in your party gets wet. Energy bars and a thermos of a warm beverage is also a welcomed accessory.
  • Do make sure everyone is wearing a life jacket. Even experienced swimmers will experience shock within one minute in the frigid water and lose muscle control within 10 minutes.
  • Do file a float plan with someone you trust that includes details about the trip, boat, persons, towing or trailer vehicle, communication equipment, and emergency contacts.
  • Do use your navigation lights to alert other boaters to your presence in dark and/or foggy conditions. Recreational boats operating at night are required to display navigation lights between sunset and sunrise.
  • Do catch your breath. A sudden unexpected fall into cold water causes an involuntary gasp (or torso) reflex. It takes less than ½ cup of water in your lungs to drown. If you remain calm, you have a greater chance of self-rescue.
  • Don’t panic if you fall into the water. Stay afloat with the help of your life jacket, regain control of your breathing, and keep your head above water in vision of rescuers.
  • Don’t keep on heavy boots if you’re in the water. Look for ways to increase your buoyancy. If you’re in the water with others, huddle together with everyone facing inwards to help everyone stay afloat and keep warm.
  • Don’t apply heat to extremities like arms and legs of a rescued victim. This sudden change in temperature could cause cardiac arrest.
For more information on boating in cold water, visit coldwaterbootcampusa.org.

Cold Water Kills

Dumpsite Eliminated

Personnel from GRDA Shoreline Management and Police Departments recently focused combined resources with the City of Grove Public Works to work in the area of 13th & Broadway in Grove to clean up a dumpsite on the Elm Branch of Honey Creek on Grand Lake. The area near the lake on GRDA lands was covered with trash and debris over an area about an acre in size. Officials removed four tons of refuse from the land designated as flowage easement on Grand Lake. Although the ground is dry now, there is no doubt the trash would eventually end up on the shores of the lake when water levels increase. Once again GRDA proves we are committed to keeping our water and shores in pristine condition!

Gearing Up for the 2018 Season


GRDA is busy making plans for a new season of boating, floating and activities at our lakes and the Scenic Rivers. Once again GRDA will have a presence at the annual boat shows including the Tulsa Boat, Sport & Travel show January 29 through February 4 and the Grand Lake Boat & Sport Show March 8 through 11. We look forward to the opportunity to feature the fantastic GRDA lakes and rivers. We will also display a new interactive exhibit to further our public safety education programs.
GRDA will be rolling out new materials to distribute to the public this year to include the recently updated Lake Rules booklet. New for 2018 will be a tri-fold brochure with a Grand Lake map so visitors have an easy-to-carry guide to navigate around our majestic lake. All of our printed materials should be available for distribution to the public by the end of this month. We will ensure that our lake partners receive copies of our brochures before the beginning of the season.
The use of the jet-powered boat on the Illinois River rolled out in 2017 was proven to be a successful tool in allowing police personnel to establish a highly visible deterrent as well as ensuring a rapid response to calls on the Illinois River. Our plans for 2018 include equipping two additional craft with the jet-powered motors to increase our presence and response capabilities on the Scenic Rivers.
With the addition of the Shoreline Maintenance Crew and the "Adopt the Shoreline" program in 2017, we look forward to our first full year of improving our environmental stewardship at GRDA lakes and rivers in 2018. The Scenic Rivers Grounds and Float Crews team collected over 49,000 pounds of trash from along the Illinois River and park areas in 2017, and this does not include the multiple truck-loads of tires and metal hauled to be recycled. The navigation controls on our lakes continue to improve with regular maintenance of our buoys and lighthouses, and our personnel have been busy targeting a number of areas for cleanup around our lakes, with more to follow. The Adopt the Shoreline program is actively recruiting area residents and businesses that are willing to participate in our first organized shoreline cleanup program in the spring of 2018. Additional details can be found atgrda.com/adopt-the-shoreline.
We had an excellent year in 2017 for safety at our lakes and rivers, that we hope to continue into 2018. After no reported drowning deaths during the season last year, we will continue our efforts to promote SAFETY FIRST on our waterways to reduce the risk of deaths this coming year. This can be accomplished through the shared promotion of life jackets with our partners, boater and water safety education programs, combined with strong enforcement of our laws and regulations.


Did You Know?

Did You Know?

The U.S. Coast Guard requires that all children under age 13 wear a personal flotation device while on a recreational vessel. Forty-eight states (including Oklahoma), as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, have some form of legislation that requires children to wear PFDs.

Water Safety Programs Continued for 2018

Water Safety Programs Continue
Water Safety Programs Continued for 2018
In an effort to protect the users of our waterways, the GRDA Police are committed to reducing the incidents of drowning, especially among our most vulnerable citizens, our children.
From 2005-2014, there were an average of3,536 fatal unintentional drownings (non-boating related) annually in the United States — about ten deaths per day. An additional 332 people died each year from drowning in boating-related incidents. About one in five people who die from drowning are children 14 and younger.
As a public service to Oklahoma communities, GRDA Police offer FREE water safety presentations for children of all ages. Uniformed officers will come to your school to provide the presentations, we offer a flexible format and can speak to individual classes or an entire school assembly. The length of the safety presentations can be as short as 20 minutes or up to 50 minutes, with time allowed for questions and answers.
We speak to your children about a number of topics:
  • Water safety tips
  • Hazards in the water
  • Water conditions to avoid
  • Proper fitting and use of life jackets
  • What to do in case of drowning
For more information contact:
Ed Ferguson
Community Relations Officer, GRDA Police
918-256-0890        Email: ed.ferguson@grda.com

Winter Driving

Boating Tips From the GLSPS

Boating Tips From the GLSPS
Sound producing devices are required by law to be on your boat. This may be a horn or whistle. For small boats and personal watercraft, a plastic whistle is the simplest way to satisfy the requirement. If you request a vessel safety check from the Power Squadron or the Coast Guard Auxiliary, you will be required to have a horn or whistle that can produce a 4 second sound audible for a ½ mile.
The Grand Lake Sail & Power Squadron has certified vessel examiners that can do a courtesy safety check for your boat at a mutually-convenient time – whether in a slip, at the launch ramp, or in your driveway if you live at Grand Lake. It usually takes 30 to 45 minutes depending upon the size of your boat. They are also qualified to issue the GRDA safety inspection decal. If your boat does not pass, no report is filed. Instead you are provided a written report that aids you in correcting any discrepancies noted.
Boat Smart from the start and take a course from the United States Power Squadrons, America’s boating club. For more information visit our website at: usps.org/grandlake or on Face Book at GLSPS.

GRDA is partnering with area businesses

By the Book

The Administrative Regulations of GRDA describe the organizations, operations, and procedures for the Grand River Dam Authority with respect to its administration, rulemaking, and other activities and are intended to supplement and interpret pertinent provisions of state statutes. 
The following information are excerpts of the GRDA Administrative Regulations Title 300 Chapter 35 that are provided in an effort to educate the public about what regulations are enforced on GRDA waterways and properties. Many of these regulations have changed effective September 11, 2017. All GRDA regulations are available for review at GRDA.com.
300:35-5-1. Careful operation of a vessel
No person shall operate or give permission to operate a vessel in a wake zone at a speed which is other than reasonable and prudent and which shows due regard for the existence of actual or potential hazards and obstacles, or in such a manner as to endanger the life, limb or property of any other person, or in such manner as to create a wake. For the purpose of this rule, "no wake zone" means any area posted with buoys or within one hundred fifty (150) feet of any boat ramp, dock, pier, or anchored or moored vessel.
300:35-5-2. Towing activities
(a) No person shall operate or give permission to operate a vessel on any waters of this state towing a person or persons using parasails or on water skis, a surfboard, a sailboard or similar device, nor shall any person engage in parasailing, water skiing, surfboarding, sailboarding or similar activity at any time between the hours from sunset to sunrise or at such time visibility due to other existing conditions is obscured so as to endanger life or property. (63 O.S. Supp.2004, § 4212(B).
(b) Pursuant to 63 O.S.Supp.2004, § 4212, the following applies to water skiing, wakeboarding, or similar towing activities:
(c) No person shall operate or give permission to operate a vessel on any GRDA waters for towing a person or persons using parasails or on water skis, a surfboard, or similar device unless there is in such vessel: (1) a person who is at least eight (8) years old, and who, in addition to the operator, is in a position to observe the progress of the person or persons being towed, or
(2) if the vessel is not a personal watercraft, an efficient wide angle convex rear view mirror installed on such vessel in such manner as to permit the person operating said
vessel to face the direction of travel and be in a position to observe the progress of the person or persons being towed, or (3) if the vessel is a personal watercraft, two (2) efficient wide angle convex rear view mirrors installed on such vessel in such manner as to permit the person operating such watercraft to face the direction of travel and be in a position to observe the progress of the person or person being towed.
(d) Water skiing shall be allowed with any watercraft which is designed to accommodate two or more persons.

Do you have a Special Event Planned?

PLEASE let us know about your lake or river events so we can provide the resources you may need to make it a positive experience!

2018 Fishing Tournaments


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