‘This Could Happen to Anyone’: Slowing the Alarming Rate of Oklahoma Drownings

KTUL - July 4, 2023 10:13 am

Over half a dozen drownings have been reported in Oklahoma within the past two months.

Two of those fatalities occurred over Memorial Day weekend.

With many gearing up to head out on the water to celebrate the Fourth of July, Red Cross and the Grand River Dam Authority want to help you stay safe.

“This could happen to anyone,” Justin Alberty, GRDA spokesperson, said.

“In the time it takes you to answer a text message, check a fishing line or put on some more sunscreen, a child or weak swimmer can actually drown in that time,” Matt Trotter, Red Cross of Oklahoma, said.

This holiday, there’s an emphasis on the importance of water safety.

“Boat safe, smart, sober,” Alberty said. “Boating safe starts with was putting that life jacket on.”

“We recommend that people always wear a lifejacket while they’re boating regardless of their swimming skill and any other any other factors that might be in play,” Trotter said.

“Oklahoma law requires you to have one on the boat for everybody,” Alberty said. “We like to see everybody just put it on, have it on when you go out so that you know if you are in an accident. There’s not a lot of time to grab it if the boat were to capsize.”

Whether you’re just learning to swim, or a certified lifeguard, don’t underestimate the power of water.

“You’ve got to respect water, the power of the water,” Alberty said.

“A lot of people believe that they’re strong swimmers, and they may not think that drowning can happen to them,” Trotter said. “But like I said, drowning doesn’t take very much time at all.”

“Maybe, the current is too strong for them or something,” Alberty said. “Know the environment you’re going to be in and don’t get in that water if you if you have been drinking.”

A huge crowd is expected to be on Oklahoma waters for the fourth.

“It’s a busy time on the lakes there’s a lot more boats than you would normally see on a normal day,” Alberty said. “There’s a lot of folks out so just keep an eye out the other guy. Go slow. Boats boat safe, smart and sober.”


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