National Safe Boating Week Encourages Boating and Water Safety Ahead of Memorial Day Weekend

Media Contact: TPWD News Business Hours, 512-389-8030

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AUSTIN – Just in time for one of the busiest boating weekends of the year, Texas Game Wardens and agency partners are celebrating National Safe Boating Week, May 18-24. The week-long campaign emphasizes the importance of safe boating practices and the use of boating safety equipment.

With approximately 1.7 million surface acres of freshwater inland lakes, 4 million acres of saltwater and 80,000 miles of rivers and streams statewide, Texas offers ample opportunities to enjoy the summer months on the water. Last Memorial Day weekend, 13 boating accidents occurred around the state, with two boating fatalities and two drownings.

Game wardens and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) urge boaters to keep the following in mind as they head out on the water:

  • Always wear a personal flotation device (PFD) or life jacket.
  • Children younger than 13 must wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved PFD while underway.
  • Use your boat’s ignition safety switch – it’s the law.
  • Avoid alcohol while boating as the two can be a dangerous combination.
  • Don’t overload your boat.
  • Operate at a safe speed.
  • Always have a passenger serving as a lookout in addition to the operator.
  • Watch out for low water areas or submerged objects.
  • Take a boater education course.
  • Leave a float plan with someone you trust.
  • Be especially careful on personal watercrafts.

Texas is home to more square miles of inland waterways than any other state and nearly 560,000 registered boats. In addition to the registered vessels, there are an estimated 359,000 unregistered rafts, sailboards, canoes, kayaks and sailboats less than 14 feet in length that utilize Texas’ public waterways. Texas Game Wardens will be out in force this holiday weekend to ensure the public enjoys their time on the water responsibly.

For more information on safe boating, please visit the TPWD Boater Education Program.