Memorial Day weekend boat safety

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LAKE OZARK -  The Missouri State Highway Patrol is encouraging people to practice safe boating ahead of Memorial Day weekend.   

The three most recent boating accidents have happened before the peak of the summer season. 

Sgt. Scott White said they will have officers on the lake and they will be working extended shifts. He said drivers must pay attention to their speed on the lake.

"Speed is critical, make sure that you adjust your speed for the conditions of not only the water, but also the weather and if it's nighttime hours and especially at night, if you can't see what's in front of you, you need to make sure you slow down," said White. 

White also said nighttime boat navigation can be difficult even for the most experienced boat captains, so slowing down and using extreme caution applies to all skill levels. 

"We implore people to make sure they have a sober captain and there's a lot of options at the lake, you can have somebody drive your boat, you can call a water taxi or even a land taxi. So there are options out there for boat operators," said White. 

The manager of Pirates Point, a boat rental service, said situational awareness is a big factor when boating. 

"Knowing what is going on around you more than just what's in front of you. Knowing if a boat is coming up behind you while your running down the lake," said Adam Morris. "If you're going to be backing out of a slip look all the way around you before you back out. And be aware of your situation." 

Missouri law requires children under seven to wear a life jacket, and for boaters to have an accessible life jacket on board for every occupant.

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