National Safe Boating Week

National Safe Boating Week

Park Rangers are doing extra checks to make sure everyone makes it home safe this year.
FAYETTEVILLE, AR- "The accident at Grand Lake(Oklahoma) just kind of kicks off the season and these were young people who had a great career ahead of them. That's a typical story on Beaver Lake also."

Park Ranger Alan Bland has seen many tragedies out on Beaver Lake.

"We've had 114 drownings on Beaver Lake since it filled in 1966. We had 5 drownings last year," Bland said.

Earning Beaver Lake the number one spot for drownings in the state, all with one common factor.

"We have yet to have anybody drown wearing a life jacket."

So Bland and other rangers are doing extra safety checks, to go from first place to last.

"We're all out here for your safety, we're not out here to give you a hard time but we're going to check you for life jackets, some agencies will check you for alcohol," he said.

Since Benton County went wet, Bland has seen more booze on the boats.

"It's all illegal to drink in the view of the public, so if you're in a boat and you're drinking where the public can see it, that's illegal," he said. 

If you're caught, boating under the influence carries the same penalties as a DWI.

"We could pull several of those off the lake every year and we anticipate pulling some off maybe next weekend."

But it's "boater fatigue" and  ignoring rules and warnings on the lake that cause problems as well.

"At the end of the day, they're just not near as sharp as they were when they started, and that's when we have a lot of our boat accidents."

Accidents, that with help from the public can be avoided.

"We just want to make sure you go home at the end of the day safe, that's our only job."
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