AUSTIN, TX (TPWD) — All available Texas game wardens will be patrolling the state’s public waters over the Labor Day weekend to make sure everyone who goes boating or fishing gets home safely.
Game wardens will be particularly on the lookout during the holiday for boat operators who have had too much to drink. Boating while intoxicated provides the same penalties as DWI, and for those on the water, it is just as dangerous.
So far this year, TPWD game wardens have arrested 195 people statewide for BWI. In 2012, game wardens took 301 people to jail for operating a boat while drunk. During the Labor Day weekend last year, game wardens handled 6 BWI cases and investigated 9 boating accidents that resulted in 13 injuries and one fatality. In addition, two drownings were reported during the holiday period in 2012.
Statewide so far this year, 59 people have drowned in Texas public waters. For all of 2012, 88 drownings were reported.
When heading out to the water, don’t drink if you are going to be operating a boat, wear your lifejacket even if you are a good swimmer and if on a personal watercraft, keep at least 50 feet away from other PWCs, vessels, the shore or any object such as a boat dock.
Boating Safety Tips
- Wear a personal flotation device
- Avoid alcohol
- Be especially careful on personal watercrafts
- Children younger than 13 must wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket while underway
- Take a boater education class
- Don’t overload your boat
- Operate at a safe speed
- Have a passenger serving as a lookout in addition to the operator
- In light of the ongoing drought, watch out for low water areas or submerged objects
- Carry extra PFDs in both adult and child sizes
- PWC operators and passengers must wear a life jacket
- Maintain a 50-foot distance from other PWCs, vessels, persons, shore, stationary platform or other objects unless operating at idle speed