Texas Game Wardens Urge Water, Boating Safety During July 4 Holiday Weekend
AUSTIN—Across the state, folks are making plans for barbeques and relaxing days on lakes, rivers and the Texas coast to celebrate the Fourth of July. Before taking a dip, Texas Game Wardens urge everyone spending time in the water to remember to follow basic safety precautions while on the water.
Simple steps to take before heading out on the water include wearing a life jacket, learning to swim, using the ignition safety switch, checking weather reports and participating in a boater education class.
Last year, wardens issued 1,560 citations and 1,976 warnings for various boating safety law violations. Forty-nine individuals were also arrested for Boating While Intoxicated (BWI), and eight others were charged for Driving While Intoxicated (DWI). Additionally, another 23 people were arrested for various other charges.
Game wardens will join the United States Coast Guard and thousands of law enforcement officers on heightened alert for violations as part of Operation Dry Water, a nationally coordinated enforcement campaign focused on deterring boating under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
“If you’re operating a boat under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you’re putting people at risk,” said Cody Jones, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) Assistant Commander for Marine Enforcement. “Sadly, we see it time and time again – holiday celebrations that end in accidents or fatalities caused by unsafe boating practices.”
Summer is the busiest time for Texas lakes and rivers, and it’s important for everyone to continue practicing safe water and boating practices every time they hit the water. 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).
“We want everyone to have a safe and enjoyable holiday weekend,” said Kimberly Sorensen, TPWD Boater Education Manger. “Make a plan to be safe on and around the water by wearing life jackets, avoiding alcohol and taking a boater education course.”
On July 1, the TPWD Boater Education program, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Rangers, Water-Oriented Recreation District of Comal County, Colin’s Hope (drowning prevention) and 4 W’s Outdoors (National Safe Boating Campaign) will be at the Canyon Park Boat Ramp 18 and Canyon Lake Marina promoting boating safety with outreach booths and prizes from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
For more information on safe boating, please visit the TPWD Boater Education Program, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Water Safety Program and the National Safe Boating Council.