Don’t Be Left High and Dry on Your First Boat Trip of the Season

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AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Parks and Wildlife Department game wardens have seen a lot of boaters try and go out for their first run of the season and for one reason or another, fail to make a successful trip.

Either they back their truck right into the water, they forget to put fresh gasoline in the boat, forget to put the plug in the boat or a whole host of other ’slip’-ups. Some say boat docks at the end of May and beginning of June bring a whole new meaning to the phrase, "comedy of errors."

But the ramifications of taking out a non-seaworthy boat are no laughing matter. Wardens say there are steps each boater should go through before taking their craft out for the first time this year.

Before You Go

  • Find out if you can get emergency assistance by calling 911. In some areas in Texas, you cannot and must call the local sheriff. You can find this out by stopping at a gas station or bait shop before you take off.
  • Make sure you have fresh gas in your boat’s tank. Gas that has been sitting in boat tanks all year is probably congealed and will clog up your engine, causing it to stall.
  • Have enough life jackets on board for all passengers and ensure all passengers younger than 13 years old are wearing them while underway.
  • Check the steering cable. Do this by making sure the steering wheel moves the motor from side to side.
  • Check the kill switch. Make sure the engine turns off when it’s pulled. Then use it.
  • Check the bearings on the trailer to make sure they’re greased up enough.
  • Make sure the lights work on the boat and the trailer.
  • Make sure the fire extinguisher is fully charged and that all passengers know where it is.
  • Check the weather. Plan to be back in before a storm hits. (If caught on the water during a storm, get to the nearest bank.)


  • Make sure to put the plug in the boat.
  • Set the parking brake on the vehicle towing the boat.
  • Unhook trailer lights from the truck.
  • Take the strap off the boat so the trailer doesn’t float up.