Boating tips to keep you and your family safe when storms roll in

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CAPE FAIR, Mo. - Storms have ripped through the Ozarks the past couple of weeks. Wednesday night, wind gusts tossed a dock at one resort on Table Rock Lake. It's raising concerns about what to do when a storm strikes on the water. Troopers with Missouri State Highway Patrol Water Division are stationed on the lake, ready to help on a moments notice.

"Safety is probably the number one thing," Trooper Ronny Mast said. "Nothing ruins your day more than someone getting hurt or your boat being crashed."

Mast spends most days patrolling the waters. He says it is important to prepare for a day on the boat.

"You need to be aware of the environment you are boating in," Mast said. "You are susceptible out here to changes in the weather."

When storms roll in, Mast says it is best to get off the water. That is usually what he does.

"Our troop headquarters will notify us that a storm is coming in," Mast said. "We will get somewhere safe. Because we are just as susceptible to the effects of the storm."

Mast says boaters will often ask for advice when they notice the skies changing.

"If they think there is weather in the area, they ask what we think they should do," Mast said. "Generally we will air on the side of caution. If you have any doubts you need to go in."

Mast suggests keeping a weather radio and radar app on your phone.

It is also important to keep the lifejackets close. Mast says there must be one lifejacket for each person accessible. Every child seven and under must wear a lifejacket at all times.

Mast says they are also looking out for intoxicated boat drivers. Recently, they had a checkpoint.

If you are out on the water and need help you can dial 911 or *55. Mast says they are there to help.

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