Safe boating rewarded at Lake of the Ozarks

Ameren Missouri, Water Patrol surprising kids with free T-shirts when spotted wearing a life jacket

Ameren Missouri
Special to the Lake Sun
A child with safety vest on the lake boat.

This Fourth of July weekend, children under age 7 seen wearing a life jacket at Lake of the Ozarks could get a free T-shirt from Ameren Missouri. It’s part of Ameren Missouri’s partnership with the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s (MSHP) water patrol division to promote water safety.

“Life jackets save lives. Please wear your life jacket when on a dock, on a watercraft, or participating in water activities,” said Captain Mike Petlansky, MSHP water patrol division director. 

Boaters of all ages should wear life jackets for any water activities regardless of their own swimming abilities. There are U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket styles available for cruising, paddling, fishing and water sports. Today’s life jackets come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and ensuring a proper fit is essential. Life jackets that are too big may push up and around your face, which could be dangerous, and life jackets that are too small may not be able to keep your body afloat.

“We want everyone to have a safe and memorable holiday when out on the water,” said Bryan Vance, supervisor of shoreline management at Ameren. “Wearing a life jacket helps you and everyone else at the lake safely enjoy boating, skiing and tubing all summer long.”

Children often wear life jackets that are too big. If a child's life jacket is not fitted or tightened properly, it may not support their head above water. The Coast Guard provides tips on how to properly fit a life jacket for your child:

    •    Always wear a life jacket while aboard a vessel and near or around water, including boat docks and shorelines.

    •    Check the manufacturer’s label to ensure that the life jacket is a proper fit for your child’s size and weight.

    •    Tighten all straps so the life jacket is properly fastened.

    •    Check the fit by lifting the shoulders of the life jacket. If it hits the top of the child's ears, it's too big. Make sure there is no excess room above the openings and that the life jacket does not go over their chin or face.

    •    For the best fit, try the life jacket in shallow water, under safe and supervised conditions.

    •    Life jackets should never replace adult supervision.

In addition to wearing life jackets on the water, people should practice safety around the shoreline. Ameren Missouri and MSHP kicked off the summer season with National Safe Boating Week, May 22-28, reminding boaters about dock safety and the importance of inspecting electrical systems following the changing water levels after the harsh winter.

For Ameren Missouri's updated report on Lake of the Ozarks water levels, please call 573.365.9205 or visit AmerenMissouri.com/Lake for hourly Lake of the Ozarks water level information.

About Ameren Missouri

Ameren Missouri has been providing electric and gas service for more than 100 years, and the company's electric rates are among the lowest in the nation. Ameren Missouri's mission is to power the quality of life for its 1.2 million electric and 132,000 natural gas customers in central and eastern Missouri. The company's service area covers 64 counties and more than 500 communities, including the greater St. Louis area. For more information, visit Ameren.com/Missouri or follow us on Twitter at @AmerenMissouri or Facebook.com/AmerenMissouri.