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Boating safety top of mind for Missouri law enforcement this holiday weekend

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The Missouri State Highway Patrol [MSHP] said with multiple drowning deaths in the area last year, they want to remind everyone to stay safe out on the water this 4th of July weekend.

The MSHP is asking anybody coming out to the Mark Twain Lake this weekend to have safety top of mind as they're anticipating a very busy weekend due to COVID-19.

"We came out out to enjoy water today and a little tubing and relaxation for the weekend, you know," said Jimmy Hurst.

His daughter Sarah Watson and the rest of their family came out to Mark Twain Lake, ahead of the busy weekend.

"My parents work on the weekend so we came for the holiday just a little bit early, gonna do some tubing we're at the beach, rest of the families over there hanging out," said Watson.

While people like Hurst said they're just excited to get out on the lake again and spend time with their family, MSHP Sgt. William Koch said they'll be out watching to make sure everyone is staying safe.

"When we're out patrolling our lakes we're gonna make sure that people are seated properly in vessels, making sure that they're not seated on seat backs or on the side of boats or on the front of the boat so it has to be protected by a rail," said Koch. "Additionally, we're gonna make sure that they have all the proper safety equipment specifically life jackets for everyone aboard."

He said with many pools closed it's also important to keep protective gear on hand when just swimming.

"Make sure that those people still have life jackets or throwable device. In the event that someone starts to have trouble swimming," said Kkoch.

Watson said it's something her family feels is very important.

"Always have the life jackets, they always have their life jackets on. Always make sure we're wearing like the right kind of light jacket I know that's actually a big thing," said Watson.

MSHP also want to remind boaters to give each vessel the proper amount of distance, especially when it comes to personal vessels like kayaks, designate a sober driver for their boats.

Also, keep the size of your wake smaller when possible, and know how to navigate other boats' wakes.

They said if you are drinking, keep in mind alcohol can reduce reaction time and increase likeliness of drowning.

Frank Healy

Multimedia Journalist at WGEM

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