LAKE OF THE OZARKS, Mo. -- Memorial Day weekend often has been deadly on Missouri's lakes and rivers but not this year. The Missouri Highway Patrol says there were no fatalities this weekend, but there were still plenty of accidents and mishaps. That includes four Kansas City area residents hurt in various accidents at the Lake of the Ozarks over the weekend.
"It is boating season," said Sgt Collin Stossberg, MO Highway Patrol. "We have a lot of people out and about we want everyone to enjoy their weekends but do it safely."
Twenty-four people went to jail for boating while intoxicated over the weekend, and officers investigated 14 boating accidents, including six injuries. That's more accidents and more injuries than officers investigated last year.
"It just comes down to paying attention when you're driving your boat," said Stossberg. "Many of these accidents or crashes can be avoided if you're doing the simple thing of paying attention, don't be distracted, drive sober, just be a courteous boater, yield the right of way and avoid injuries."
Four Kansas City area residents were involved in unrelated accidents at the Lake of the Ozarks. On Saturday, a 16-year-old Lee's Summit teenager was badly hurt when she hit a large wake on an inner-tube and went airborne. She was taken by air ambulance to Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City.
Later that day 60-year-old Ronald Dodson, Lee's Summit, and 19-year-old Blake Samskey, Overland Park, KS, were hurt when a spark ignited fumes at a refueling station.
Then on Sunday 33-year-old Douglas Williams, Raytown was hurt in a jet ski accident.
The Missouri Highway Patrol wants to remind people that free boating safety courses are required for anyone born after 1984, but they're a good idea for anyone.
"It can save someone's life," says Stossberg.
A free boating safety class will be taught at the Bass Pro Shop, in Independence, MO, on June 9, 2012. The class will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. You must pre-register on-line for this course, as seating will be limited. For more information, to register for this course, or to obtain a complete listing of where other courses are being offered you may visit the Missouri State Highway Patrol website www.mshp.dps.mo.gov. Once there select the Boat Safety Education icon on the left side of the page.