AUSTIN—With the summer boating season winding down, many Texans are making plans to escape the unrelenting heat by hitting the water one last time. This holiday weekend, Texas Game Wardens are joining local law enforcement to patrol Texas lakes and rivers and remind everyone spending time around the water to follow basic safety precautions.
“Life jackets are one of the easiest, most accessible tools to prevent fatalities,” said Cody Jones, Texas Game Warden Assistant Commander for Marine Enforcement. “If an accident occurs, it is unlikely you will have time to find a life jacket and secure it properly, so it’s best to wear one at all times when on the water.”
Last year over Labor Day weekend, wardens issued 305 citations and 433 warnings for various boating safety law violations. Wardens arrested three individuals for boating while intoxicated (BWI) and four individuals for driving while intoxicated (DWI) and made 22 other arrests for various charges. This summer, Texas Game Wardens have responded to 35 drownings and 22 boat-related fatalities.
“With increased boating traffic over the holiday weekend, boaters need to maintain a safe speed and keep a constant watch for other boaters and swimmers in the water,” said Kimberly Sorensen, Boater Education Manager.
If wading in from a shoreline or riding in a boat, everyone should focus on safety every time they enter the water. Simple yet important steps to take include wearing a life jacket, learning to swim, using the ignition safety switch, checking weather reports and participating in a boater education class.
A complete list of safety equipment required is found in the Texas Water Safety Act. For more information about water safety, visit Water Safety — Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD).
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Boater Education team will be on Lake Travis in Austin reinforcing the importance of water and boating safety. Meet the boater education team Saturday, Sept. 3 from 9 a.m.- 1 p.m. on Lake Travis at Point Venture Marina, 555 Venture Blvd. S, Point Venture, TX, 78645.
For more information on safe boating, please visit the TPWD Boater Education Program.