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July 10 GRDA Weekly Update

Ending Distractions Makes Boating Safer for Everyone

Ending Distractions Makes Boat
The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, a national nonprofit organization that works to develop public policy for recreational boating safety, recently released its 2018 Ten Most Wanted List of Recreational Boating Safety Improvements. The list is designed to increase awareness of, and support for, the most critical changes needed to reduce recreational boating accidents and save lives. Included are important mandates to increase life-jacket wear, reduce boating under the influence of alcohol and other drugs, and more.
No. 5 on the list is an item all of us who enjoy boating should try to help with: Address distracted boating and improper lookout.
National statistics from the past five years reveal that operator inattention and improper lookout, combined, accounted for between 22 and 24 percent of the total reported boating crashes annually, keeping them squarely among the top five primary contributing factors for each of those years. During that same period, they also combined to account for between 9 and 14 percent of boating-related fatalities annually.
Texting While Boating Part of the Problem
The Coast Guard describes operator inattention as “failure on the part of the operator to pay attention to the vessel, its occupants or the environment in which the vessel is operating.” Although it’s difficult to determine how many boating accidents actually happen as a result of boat operators or lookouts texting or otherwise using electronic devices such as cellphones, laptops and tablets, there’s little doubt that such activities are a big part of the problem. Rapid growth in the use of wireless devices wreaks havoc for operators of all types of vehicles, including boats.
“Cellphones are the primary communication device for many boaters,” said Ted Sensenbrenner, assistant director of boating safety for the BoatUS Foundation, a nonprofit group that represents recreational boaters. “So while electronic devices are important to all of us, we have to know how to use them wisely. If you’re texting from the helm, you’re likely not helming the boat.”
Unlike cars on highways, boats can approach from all directions, come in vastly different sizes and may move at very different rates of speed. If you use your smartphone or other electronic devices while on board your craft, it’s extremely important that you be aware of the risks of distracted boating.
Sensenbrenner said boating’s unique stressors of sun, glare, wind, waves and vibration could increase the likelihood of problems. Research shows that hours of exposure to these things produce a kind of a fatigue, or “boater’s hypnosis,” which slows reaction time almost as much as if you were legally drunk. Adding alcohol multiplies the accident risk.
Additional Risk Factors
Texting while boating is only part of the problem. Reports indicate that many other activities can contribute to distracted boating accidents as well. These include eating/drinking, talking to passengers, reading (including maps) and adjusting the stereo or electronics.
Just a few moments of inattention caused by actions such as these can lead to injuries or even deaths when boats collide with other boats or unnoticed obstructions, or when a craft swamps or capsizes because the driver didn’t see big waves or wakes. You cannot operate a boat safely unless the task of operating the craft has your full attention. Any non-driving activity you engage in is a potential distraction and increases your risk of crashing.
Safety Tips
With distractions more prevalent than ever — more than 150 billion text messages are sent in the U.S. every month, for example — how can you, and those you love, be safer? Here are a few tips that apply to boat drivers, as well as drivers on the road.
·        Don’t use the phone. This includes texting, as well as talking, unless it’s an emergency. Even hands-free conversations can take your attention off the water or road.
·        Eat before you leave or after you get there. Scarfing down that burger with one hand on the wheel means your focus is divided, and you probably don’t have as much control over your boat or car as you should.
·        Know where you’re going. Nobody likes to be lost. But messing around with your boat or car’s GPS (or the maps app on your smartphone) while you’re moving can lead to something you’ll hate even more — an accident.
Talk to your family about safe boating and driving. Having a conversation with your spouse as he or she is driving a boat or car provides the perfect opportunity to say, “I’ll let you focus on what’s ahead; we can talk when we arrive at our destination.” And if you have young boaters or drivers in the household, be sure to have a conversation about their phones and other potential issues, such as their passengers — a key distraction for teens.
Watch for other distracted boaters and drivers. Just because you aren’t distracted doesn’t mean that others are focused on safely operating their boats or cars. Stay in control, and be vigilant. You’ll be ready to react when someone else makes the wrong move.
Distracted boating isn’t just “one of those things” that happens, like a mechanical failure that isn’t anyone’s fault. Distractions are 100-percent preventable, and by committing to avoiding distractions while you’re operating a boat, you’ll help make the water safer for everyone.

PWC's Still Targeted in Thefts

PWC's Still Targeted in Thefts

GRDA Police continue to investigate reported thefts of personal watercraft on north Grand Lake. The majority of the incidents are occurring north of Sailboat bridge from Hickory Point to the Elk River area. Most are likely occurring at night, but there are some reports of daytime thefts and with the amount of boat traffic during the holidays, exact timing cannot be determined.

While some of these PWC's are found to be floating away from the owners docks, property owners are reminded to be vigilant in securing and watching your property, as well as that of your neighbors. Report suspicious activity to GRDA Police at 918-256-0911.

On The Road or The Water, Your Headed Nowhere Fast While Impaired

Drowning Tragedy

Drowning Tragedy
The Grand River Dam Authority Police Department is investigating the drowning death of a 3-year old child that occurred Saturday night at the popular Flint Creek Waterpark, near the Oklahoma-Arkansas border, off State Highway 412 in Delaware County.
At approximately 7:40 PM GRDA Police received a report of a drowning at the location. Upon arrival officers were informed that two siblings, ages 3 and 2, had both been recovered after being under water for an extended period of time. Emergency medical personnel performed CPR on both children at the scene before transporting them to a Siloam Springs, Arkansas hospital where the 3-year old was later pronounced dead.
The preliminary investigation indicates both children had been wearing life jackets and playing in shallow water earlier in the day, but had removed the jackets in preparation to leave. While their parents were packing up their belongings, both children returned to the water without being noticed.
The body of the 3-year old was taken to the Arkansas State Medical Examiner. GRDA Police are continuing the investigation.

GRDA Controlled Hunts 2018

GRDA Controlled Hunts 2018
The Grand River Dam Authority will once again hold controlled hunts, for the upcoming deer and waterfowl seasons, on its Ottawa County properties along the Neosho River. Those interested in applying for these special draw hunts, can register online at www.grda.com/grda-hunting-drawing. The registration period begins June 1 and runs throughJuly 31.
Prospective hunters can apply as individuals or with a group of up to four individuals. This year’s schedule will include a “youth-only” hunt during the youth deer gun season. While the hunts are open to the public, GRDA also asks that residents of its municipal customer, public power communities upload a copy of a utility bill as proof of residence for consideration for special opening day hunts. The controlled hunts for deer and waterfowl will begin this fall.

Always wear a life vest

Did You Know?

Did You Know?
True or False: The "Move Over Law" applies to emergency vessels on the lake.
Answer: True - GRDA Regulations require that "Vessels shall stop when directed, or operate at idle speed within five hundred (500) feet from emergency vessels while their emergency lights are activated."

Illinois River

Considerations for a Safe Float Trip

Safe Float Trip
  • Inform the commercial flotation device operation if you or anyone in your party are a first-time or novice floater(s) so that they may pair you with an experienced paddler/floater or float you in a raft so there is a reduced risk of capsizing.
  • Wear a personal flotation device at all times.
  • Never swim or boat alone. Stay within sight of companions.
  • Do not float when river levels are at flood stage.
  • If you capsize, stay with your flotation device on the upstream side. Resist the urge to grab a fixed object & don't get pinned between the flotation device and a rock or tree.
  • When tired, take a break on a gravel bar to relax.
  • Do not dive into the river from bridges, bluffs, stream banks and trees.
  • Never swing on rope swings and jump into the water as there may be submerged logs and tree branches that could injure you.
  • Bring sunglasses, extra cover up clothing, hat and suntan lotion. The sun reflecting off the water will give a person without sunglasses a headache and the extra clothing gives you added protection to avoid sunburn.
  • Take water, tea, Gatorade, other thirst-quenching drinks and peanut butter crackers or similar snacks. Avoid beer and soft drinks since they tend to dehydrate the body, and avoid alcohol use, since that can impair judgment.
  • Wear river wading shoes to avoid cuts to your feet.
  • Never take anything on your float trip that you don't want to lose. Leave your car keys with the commercial float operator for safe keeping;
  • Camp only in designated areas. Avoid being trapped by rising water against bluffs or on gravel bars.
  • Do not tie flotation devices together as it against the law and violators are subject to fine.
  • Do not use glass and Styrofoam containers.
  • Don't litter. Use provided trash bags and receptacles.
  • Shower with soap and water after swimming.
  • Wash cuts and scrapes with clean water and soap after swimming.
  • Wear ear plugs.
  • Wear swim goggles.
  • Take children to the restroom frequently.
  • Use swim diapers on infants.
  • Stay away from any area that has floating debris, oil sheens or dead fish.
  • Do not swim after a heavy rain.
  • Do not swim if you have cuts or scrapes.
  • Do not swim near storm drains.
  • Do not swim in stagnant (unmoving) water.
  • Do not swim in water with a green surface scum.
  • Do not ingest water. 

Life Jackets Save Lives

Lake Rules

Updates on the Web

Updates on the Web

Did you not receive our latest GRDA Update? Do you have a friend that wants to see our Updates? You can now go to our website at GRDA.com to view the latest edition of GRDA Police Updates. Go to the Lakes/River tab, open the GRDA Police tab and click on the GRDA Police Update for the latest version of our email release.

Visit our website for GRDA Police Updates

Boating Tips From the GLSPS

Boating Tips From the GLSPS
Swimming in a marina can be dangerous because of reversed polarity from a boat in the area having an improperly wired electrical receptacle. When the boat is connected to shore power or using a generator for the electricity source, the reversed polarity can energize the ground connections leaking an electrical current into the surrounding water.
The same holds true for private docks when the electrical outlets are improperly wired and connected to a shore power source. Modern electrical receptacles are polarized allowing the plug to be inserted in only one direction, however the receptacle still needs to be properly grounded. To be safe, consider checking the electrical receptacles around your boat, dock and house. Portable polarity testers are inexpensive and may be purchased in the electrical supply section of many stores. 
Interested in becoming more confident in your boating skills? Boat Smart from the start and take a course from America’s Boating Club, the United States Power Squadrons. For local information visit our website at: usps.org/grandlake or on Face Book at GLSPS.


A Summary of Boating Laws, Navigation Regulations & Tips
That All Boat Operators Should Know
Encountering Other Vessels
Even though no vessel has the “right-of-way” over another vessel, there are some rules that every operator should follow when encountering other vessels. It is the responsibility of both operators to take the action needed to avoid a collision.
To prevent collisions, every operator should follow the three basic rules of navigation.
  • Practice good seamanship.
  • Keep a sharp lookout.
  • Maintain a safe speed and distance.
Navigation Rules
There are two terms that help explain these navigation rules.
Stand-on vessel: The vessel that should maintain its course and speed
Give-way vessel: The vessel that must take early and substantial action to avoid collision by stopping, slowing down, or changing course
Crossing Situations
Power vs. Power: The vessel on the operator’s port (left) side is the give-way vessel. The vessel on the operator’s starboard (right) side is the stand-on vessel.
Power vs. Power in a Crossing Situation
Power vs. Sail in a Crossing Situation


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