Texas Parks & Wildlife urge boating safety over holiday weekend

Published: Jun. 29, 2022 at 2:56 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 30, 2022 at 6:57 AM CDT

TEXARKANA, Texas (KSLA) - The holiday weekend is coming up and leaders with Texas Parks and Wildlife are encouraging those on area lakes and waterways to celebrate in a safe manor.

Earlier this month, a Dallas man drowned in Wright Patman Lake. Captain Shawn Hervey with Texas Parks and Wildlife said this death highlights a problem they face every year: boaters not wearing life jackets.

“When you are on a boat every occupant of that vessel needs to have a life jacket readily accessible. If you are under 13 you must wear that life jacket,” he said.

Over the Fourth of July weekend, officials are expecting an increase of visitors on area lakes and waterways. Texas game wardens will also be out in full force patrolling and making sure boaters, along with operators of other personal water crafts, are following safety procedures.

Hervey said it’s good for those on the water to be familiar with their surroundings to avoid hitting submerged objects. He said the use of alcohol also contributes to many accidents.

“We ask that boaters stay sober while operating their vessel. That is one of the number one causes of accidents and drownings in the state of Texas,” said Hervey.

He compares not wearing a life jacket to a person not wearing a seatbelt in a vehicle. Breaking boating laws in Texas can bring a monetary fine, but Hervey said that’s not the reason for the increase in patrol.

“Our main goal in patrolling the water as Texas Game Wardens is to save lives. Our number one goal is to make sure you make it back to shore safely.”

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