GRDA encourages safe boating, extra precautions during holiday weekend

May 28, 2019

Grand River Dam Authority News Release
For immediate release: 5/24/19

Be mindful of your boat’s wake, don’t cause additional property damage …
GRDA encourages safe boating, extra precautions during holiday weekend

Langley – Due to recent heavy rains and high water inflows into the Grand River watershed, both Grand Lake and Lake Hudson will be at their maximum flood pools during the upcoming Memorial Day holiday. For those planning to visit the lakes, the Grand River Dam Authority is urging extra precaution. If you plan to float the Illinois River GRDA reminds you to consult with the commercial float operator before starting your trip, for the most up-to-date river conditions and floating information.

GRDA is also informing Lake Hudson boaters that the cable which holds the warning buoys in place across the floodgates at Robert S. Kerr Dam broke Thursday morning (May 23). Due to this, it is critically important that any watercraft that might be on the Lake Hudson stay well clear of Robert S. Kerr Dam and that area of Lake Hudson. Heavy inflows into the lake, combined with a high rate of discharge through the floodgates has led to a dangerously high current in the lake, especially in areas near the dam. With any mechanical failure of a watercraft in the area near the dam, the current will pull a craft through the open gates.

On Grand Lake, boaters are also advised to stay well clear of the buoys designating the floodgate areas. Below the dams, please stay clear of floodwater releases as well. The Off Road areas below Pensacola Dam are closed. There are other closed areas which are marked with barricades.

Other tips to keep in mind if you are planning on visiting the lake or the Illinois River:
• First of all, ALWAYS wear your life jacket.
• Be aware of floating debris. Higher lake levels can mean more driftwood and debris floating in the water. Please be on the lookout as you are boating.
• Be mindful of your neighbors and watch your wake. Due to elevated lake levels, wakes can roll up onto property that is normally above the water causing additional damage to structures. All vessel operators are responsible for their wakes.
• Also, be mindful of the changing lake shoreline topography and the possibility of now-submerged structures. Things like stumps, picnic tables, retaining walls and other structures typically located along the shoreline may now be submerged due to the lake levels. Use extreme caution and avoid unfamiliar areas of the shoreline.
• Any first time or novice floaters on the river should also pair with an experienced paddler/floater in a raft where there is a lesser chance of capsizing.
• Never swim or boat alone. Stay within sight of companions.
• Camp only in designated areas. Avoid being trapped by rising water against bluffs or on gravel bars along the river.
• Do not float or swim when river levels and flows are higher than normal (brown-colored water w/visible debris on the surface) or at flood stage.

The GRDA Police Department encourages you to boat safe, smart and sober. For more information on GRDA, the GRDA Police Department and lake or river rules, visit or like us on Facebook. If you have an emergency and need immediate assistance while on the water, the GRDA Police encourages you to dial 911. If you don’t have a cell phone available on your boat you can also radio for help on Marine Band 16. The department’s non-emergency number is (918) 256 0911. Contact the GRDA Scenic River Operations office at 918-456-3251. The office is located at 15971 N. Highway 10 in Tahlequah.

Headquartered in Vinita, GRDA is Oklahoma’s state-owned electric utility; fully funded by revenues from electric and water sales instead of taxes. Each day, GRDA strives to be an “Oklahoma agency of excellence” by focusing on the 5 E’s: electricity, economic development, environmental stewardship, employees and efficiency.

Contact: Justin Alberty
Vice President of Corporate Communications
(918) 256 0618