Several Texas State Parks are closed due to Tropical Storm Harvey. See state park alerts.

Boating Facts

March 2014

  • Mandatory boater education is required for anyone born on or after September 1, 1993 to operate a Personal Watercraft (PWC), sailboat over 14 feet, or motorboat with a motor greater than 15 hp.
  • There are more than 580,000 registered boats in Texas, ranking it 6th in the country.
  • Texas has more square miles of inland water than any other state.
  • Recreational boating safety is a primary area of responsibility of Texas game wardens. The most common water safety citations are issued are for:
    • Not having enough lifejackets on board the boat.
    • Children younger than 13 not wearing a life jacket.
  • All children younger than age 13 must wear a life jacket while in a boat less than 26 feet in length that is underway.
  • Game Wardens and Marine Safety Enforcement Officers enforce the Boating While Intoxicated (BWI) law.
  • A person who either appears to be impaired and/or has a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or higher while operating a boat can be arrested for BWI.
  • A person arrested for BWI may be jailed for up to 180 days, be fined as much as $2,000 or both. Additionally, the person's drivers' license may be automatically suspended.
  • Alcohol plays a role in 50 percent of all boating accidents, according to BOAT US.
  • Nearly 85% of boating fatality drowning victims were not wearing a life jacket.
  • A typical boating accident fatality involves: An open motorboat;Weekends between the hours of Noon and 7 p.m.;
  • The victim falling overboard; and
  • An operator between 26-50 years of age

Texas Boating-Related Statistics

Year
(Calendar)
#Registered
Boats
Boating Accidents Injuries Fatalities BWI

2013

582,478

206

85

22

209

2012

587,470

156

84

26

310

2011

590,704

197

119

30

259

2010

605,332

171

138

29

318

2009

594,698

211

138

45

222

2008

594,446

278

173

62

238

2007

593,446

266

181

52

190

2006

597,830

261

165

47

230

2005

619,150

213

100

36

284

2004

620,720

212

146

36

278

2003

624,186

265

175

38

194

2002

620,740

251

147

61

203

2001

630,688

242

191

41

224

2000

617,616

257

173

55

222

1999

614,211

262

186

51

157

1998

613,378

252

187

53

188

1997

606,178

258

222

69

167