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Get rewarded for making safe boating choices this summer

Ameren Missouri teams up to promote life jacket use and general boating safety at Lake of the Ozarks

LAKE OZARK, Mo. (May 23, 2024) – Starting this Memorial Day, kids ages 7 and under caught wearing their life jackets when on the water at Lake of the Ozarks could receive a free T-shirt. The giveaway runs until the end of the summer, thanks to a partnership between Ameren Missouri and the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s water patrol division to raise awareness about water safety.

“We want to make sure everyone is prepared to have a safe and fun season as we welcome people back to the lake,” said Captain Mike Petlansky, division director of Missouri’s water patrol division. “Wearing a properly fitted life jacket is one of the simplest ways for children – as well as adults – to enjoy the lake safely.”

Data from the U.S. Coast Guard show that people who fail to wear a life vest are at increased risk of death during a boating accident. In 2022, the Coast Guard counted 636 fatal boating accidents. Where cause of death was known, 75% of fatal boating accident victims had drowned, and 85% of those drowning victims had not been wearing a life jacket.

“No one is immune from boating and drowning accidents, regardless of swimming ability,” said Bryan Vance, supervisor of shoreline management at Ameren. “Giving away T-shirts is a simple, visual way to remind everyone to wear a life jacket any time you are in a boat or on the water.”

People of all ages should wear life jackets for any water activities. 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.

To maximize safety this season, Ameren Missouri encourages all Lake of the Ozarks visitors to follow the Coast Guard’s recommendations for proper life jacket use for children:

  • 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 docks and the shoreline. 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 135,000 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 at @AmerenMissouri or Facebook.com/AmerenMissouri.

For further information: Ameren Missouri Communications, 314.554.2182, Communications@ameren.com