By Megan Sando
STILLWATER, Okla. —
This weekend local law enforcement will be cruising the waters of Lake Carl Blackwell and Lake McMurtry on Labor Day.
People can expect to see OSU Police patrolling in their 1993 77-gallon Boston Whaler on Carl Blackwell. Carl Blackwell is approximately six miles long, with 53 miles of shoreline.
Officer Leon Jones said most citations are from inland speeding, causing a wake in a no wake zone, overcrowding the boat or not having enough life jackets on board.
“So far this year people have obeyed the rules well,” he said. “Patrol will have a heightened awareness for alcohol abuse and reckless behavior on both land and water.”
Each year, 167 people die on Labor Day due to drunk driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
“We expect crowds that are more than a normal day,” said Stillwater Police Lake Patrol Officer Chris Howell. “We make sure everyone is being as safe as possible.”
Howell said they will have one Crestliner boat on Lake McMurtry, but it is likely they won’t be alone.
On holidays, the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation and the Oklahoma Highway Patrol Troop W will have extra patrol.
For visitors to lakes, rivers or streams, people should be cautious of bacteria or viruses that may be harmful, according to the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality. Those swimming, boating and canoeing should be aware of microorganisms that can cause ear infection, itch, gastrointestinal upset or rare, but serious eye infections and some forms of meningitis.
The department recommends wearing nose plugs, washing open cuts and scrapes with soap and water and staying away from areas with floating debris, stagnant water, oil sheens or dead fish.
To end summer’s last big weekend, residents will have lower gas prices than last year. Stillwater’s pump prices were $3.64 compared to this year’s $3.47, according to AAA.
“Labor Day weekend is when things start to wind down,” Jones said. “We want people to have fun and be safe.”