OSAGE BEACH, Mo. — Two people have died and a third was seriously injured all within a week of each other at Lake of the Ozarks near Osage Beach.
The lake is expecting to see an extra 70,000 visitors for Labor Day weekend.
Now, first responders say they are prepared for the influx of calls they may receive.
“Use common sense, be safe, don’t operate the boat if you’re not qualified to do so,” said Chief Paul Berardi with the Osage Fire Protection District. “Certainly don’t operate the boat if you are under the influence of anything.”
Even something simple, like a lanyard, can save boaters from further tragedies.
“Make sure that we use a lanyard on our kill switch, so if we happen to lose control of a boat or we go unconscious,” Berardi said. “That kill switch shuts off the boat so we don’t have an even bigger accident.”
The department is also seeing issues with dock safety.
“I know that my grandkids, whenever they’re on the dock, they’re in a lifejacket,” Berardi said. “And a lot of our firefighters have the same rule for their families. So it’s probably a good idea even for adults. Just last year, we had an adult fall into the water with no lifejacket on, and ended up drowning.”
With Labor Day weekend just a few days away, Berardi said his department is prepared to take their boat on the water in case of emergencies as well.
“We know there’s going to be a heightened level of calls and we’re going to be on the ready for it. And we are ready,” Berardi said.