With summer just around the corner, many folks are already planning their Grand Lake and Lake Hudson outings.
But before you get too far into that schedule, the Grand River Dam Authority wants to remind you to save some space on your calendar for important boating safety and education.
Again in 2014, GRDA will be offering Kyle Williams Safe Boating Courses throughout the spring and summer.
Back in 2007, the Kyle Williams Safe Boating Act became law in Oklahoma. This law prohibits children between the ages of 12 and 16 years of age; without a valid driver’s license, from operating any vessel powered by a motor of more than 10 horsepower, or sailing vessel 16 feet or longer, without first completing a state-approved boater safety course.
The Safe Boating Courses offered by GRDA will allow young boaters to fulfill that requirement.
The 2014 dates are set, with all courses on Saturdays, lasting from 8 am to 5pm:
- Saturday, March 22 at the GRDA Ecosystems and Education Center (Langley)
- March 29, at Langley City Hall
- April 19, at the Tulsa Technology Center
- May 10 at the Ecosystems and Education Center
- June 21 at the Ecosystems and Education Center
- July 12 at the Ecosystems and Education Center
Intended to help educate young boaters, the course was named after a 12-year old Oklahoma boy who was killed in a personal watercraft accident on Lake Eufaula in 2004.
To help prevent such tragedies in the future, his family pushed for a law requiring boater education for teens. The Kyle Williams Safe Boating Act became law in 2007.
While children in this age group need to take the course for certification, older adults are also encouraged to attend to refresh themselves on how to stay safe out on the water of Grand Lake.
According to GRDA Officer Jason Littlefield, who has taught several courses over the years, adults can benefit from time in the classroom.
“It’s a really good course,” said Littlefield. “I think it has something for everybody; no matter how old you are. It is something that will benefit you one way or another.”
A possible insurance benefit, opportunity to learn something new (including rules specific to Grand and Hudson lakes) and, ultimately, the chance to set an example for younger boaters, are all good reasons for adults to attend.