Highway Patrol gearing up to maintain safety at the Lake

Lake of the Ozarks water safety

LAKE OF THE OZARKS, Mo. - Hundreds are spending their Independence Day weekend on the Lake of the Ozarks.

Members of the Missouri State Highway Patrol are gearing up for a busy weekend to keep people safe.

ABC 17 News was on the water with a trooper this afternoon when a boat ran into some trouble.

Luckily, the family was prepared, and help wasn't too far away.

While the Chellis family was out enjoying a day on the lake, they noticed their boat started taking in a lot of water.

"Essentially we were sinking so all of us grabbed life jackets and jumped off, well not all of us, the seven of us grabbed life jackets and jumped off and then my dad and uncle, who is the boat owner, got two wave runners to tow us back," said Abby Chellis.

The seven family members had to tread water until sergeant Randy Henry came to the rescue.

"We saw him by the shore and kind of figured he was coming for us and we got real excited and were like, 'oh a state trooper!'," said Chellis.

That was just one of the many boating accidents troopers will work on the lake this weekend.

In 2012 alone, there were a total of 194 accidents state-wide.

About a quarter of those were alcohol-related.

They've already seen several drownings this summer, so that's why safety is especially important during one of the area's busiest times.

"July 4th is one of the busiest weekends down here at the Lake of the Ozarks we just make a lot of boating while intoxicated arrests, so we're just always looking for one of those violations, those obvious violations, very simple violations of cutting too close to a dock or going inside of a buoy. Those are real safety violations and we make sure we're real attentive to those and we act on them and sometimes when we do stop the boat, the driver is intoxicated," said Corporal Scott White with the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

There were also 17 drownings in 2012, so it's important to remember the same laws apply from the road also apply when people are in a boat.

If someone decides to drink, they need to get a designated driver.

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