With Labor Day weekend approaching, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) is reminding everyone to be safe this holiday by following basic boating and water safety precautions. In 2020, Texans took advantage of the outdoors and hit the waters in droves, driving recreational boating accidents to a 30 year high. Outreach efforts by Texas Game Wardens and community partners have resulted in a 24 percent decrease in boating related accidents but numbers remain higher than pre-pandemic levels.
“We are expecting another boost in Texans enjoying the outdoors during the Labor Day weekend so Texas Game Wardens will be out in force to ensure that everyone exercises proper safety protocols on the water,” said Cody Jones, TPWD Assistant Commander for Marine Enforcement. “We want to ensure water-related activities are handled in a responsible manner. While you are on a boat, wear a life jacket, closely supervise any children with you, use the engine kill switch, and abstain from driving a boat if you are drinking alcohol.”
Learning to swim, checking weather reports, and participating in a boater education class are also simple steps to take before heading out on the water. The TPWD boater education website offers multiple resources and boater education courses which must be completed by anyone operating a personal watercraft or a boat with a 15-horsepower rating or more.
“As usual, the increase in boating traffic goes hand in hand with a higher visibility of Texas Game Wardens,” Jones added. “Boaters should expect to see us out on patrol ensuring that everyone under the age of 13 is wearing a life vest, that boats are equipped with the proper flotation devices, and no one operating a boat is under the influence of alcohol. We want to ensure Texans have a great holiday and the only way to do that is by following state laws.”
For more information about boating safety, laws and requirements, visit TPWD’s boating laws website.