Floating safety in focus this Memorial Day Weekend

Area kayak/canoe companies want people to have fun and be safe
KY3's Nick Kelly reports.
Published: May. 26, 2023 at 7:59 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Memorial Day Weekend and Labor Day Weekend. These aren’t just weekends to kick off and wrap up the unofficial summer season.

It certainly keeps companies like Kayak Branson busy. Adam Nelson, general manager of Kayak Branson and the Area71 off of Highway 165, says that it’s business as usual even as construction of a new Area71 building has just been completed.

“The moment the weather got hot, we’ve been busy with our vans running nonstop,” Nelson says. “We have two vans with a total capacity to hold 26 passengers. All day and every day, both vans are running.”

For Kayak Branson, the company has been in business for over 20 years with Nelson taking over from the prior owners. Nelson credits that to making safety the top priority before any and all, customers go out on the water either at a starting point at Lake Taneycomo or on Table Rock Lake.

“Our goal with every customer is to give them a safety briefing before every outing,” Nelson states. “We make sure that everyone is wearing their life jackets even before they get out on the water. We also teach them how to paddle, break down the rules that need to be followed, and how to react when you may be approaching other boaters on the water.”

After giving so many courses on safety, Nelson says that anyone who goes out on their own or with a group at a kayak tour company must remember the life vest.

“Don’t underestimate the power of water,” says Nelson. “Wear your lifejacket. I don’t care how good of a swimmer you think you are. Wear your life jacket. Also, don’t drink. Being impaired doesn’t really help your safety in any way.”

He also stresses to keep an eye out for anything else, including other boaters, that they could come across on the water.

“When you have boaters coming, just stay out of their way,” Nelson states. “Hug the shores so that you can avoid them while they avoid you and prevent any accidents.”

Additional safety tips from the Missouri Department of Conservation and Arkansas Game and Fish Commission can make sure that any float trip this holiday weekend or anytime this summer is a safe and fun one. Those sites, along with the Missouri Canoe and Floaters Association and Arkansas.com, can also point out the many areas that can serve as a great float trip for you, your family, and your friends.

To report a correction or typo, please email digitalnews@ky3.com