Note: This item is more than 11 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references.
Frequently Asked Questions about Boating Laws
Extra! Read All Aboat It!
UNDATED — Does the "Open Container" law apply when I’m in my boat?
No. This law, effective Sept. 1, 2001, prohibits the possession of an open container of an alcoholic beverage in the passenger area of a motor vehicle. It does not apply to watercraft.Can my driver’s license be suspended if I’m arrested for operating a boat while intoxicated?
Yes. Effective Sept.1, 2001, a person’s drivers license will be automatically suspended if the arrested person:
- Is operating a watercraft powered with an engine having a manufacturer’s rating of 50 horsepower or more; and
- The person refuses to provide a specimen (breath or blood) to determine intoxication.
The period of suspension for first time offenders is 180 days.Who reports boating accidents to your department?
It is the responsibility of the boat operator who is involved in the accident. Each operator must file a boating accident report if the accident:
- Results in death; or
- Injuries to a person requiring medical treatment beyond first aid; or
- Causes damage to vessel(s) or property in excess of $500.
Report forms can be downloaded from the TPWD Web site under the BOATING link.How do I find out if there are any special water safety regulations on a lake I want to visit?
The rules in the Texas Water Safety Act apply to all public water in Texas. The local governing body of incorporated cities or towns, county commissioner’s courts, and political subdivisions can pass rules relating to restricted areas and the operation and equipment of boats it deems necessary for the public safety. You must contact the entity in charge to determine if any special rules apply.
Publication — Permission is granted to publish, in whole or in part, any news releases on this page.
Print — A print-friendly version of the news release shows only the release with font sizes set to the browser default.
Plain Text — Plain text versions of TPWD news releases are provided for copying and pasting into editing software.
To copy text into an editing software:
- Click a Plain Text link to display the plain text page in your browser.
- Select all.
- Paste in a document in your editing program.
Permalink — This is a direct link to the news release, omitting the navigation context from the URI.
English/Spanish — News releases posted in both English and Spanish have one of these links.
If you have any suggestions for improving these pages, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and mention Plain Text Pages.