Boating Safety No Laughing Matter
Texas Parks and Wildlife Encourages Lake Lovers to Boat Safely, Visit the 2013 DFW Boat Expo July 18-21
DALLAS, TEXAS (July 3, 2013)…With the DFW Boat Expo just around the corner, July 18-21, 2013, boat safety is top of mind.
Summer is in full swing and so is boating season for Texans across the state. Thousands will enjoy time on the water with family and friends, but what begins as fun will sadly turn to tragedy for some – an accidental drowning or potentially life-changing injury.
To prevent mishaps – or worse, becoming a grim statistic – Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TWPD) wants to remind everyone to practice safe boating while spending time on area lakes and offers the following boating safety tips:
- Always wear a life jacket or personal flotation device (PFD). Most boating fatality victims were not wearing a PFD.
- Always carry PFDs in both adult and child sizes. Children younger than age 13 must wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved PFD while underway.
- Avoid alcohol. The probability of being killed in a boating accident doubles when alcohol is involved. Operating a boat under the influence is just as dangerous as driving a car when you’ve been drinking. Boating while intoxicated (BWI) is strictly enforced and carries penalties similar to driving, including possible Driver’s License suspension.
- Be especially careful on personal watercrafts (PWC). PWC operators and passengers must wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved PFD. Before borrowing or renting a PWC, take the time to learn how to operate the vessel and the rules of the waterway. Obey the 50-foot rule! Maintain a 50-foot distance from other PWCs, vessels, persons, shore, or stationary platform or other object unless operating at headway (idle) speed.
- Enroll in a boater education class. For class information, visit the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Boater Education Web pages or call 800-792-1112.
- Don’t overload your boat.
- Operate at a safe speed. Use common sense, especially in crowded areas. A person must be able to bring the boat to a safe stop within the assured clear distance ahead.
- Always have a passenger serve as a lookout in addition to the operator.
- Watch out for low water areas or submerged objects.
These tips and more detailed information are available on TWPD’s web site at http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/fishboat/boat/safety/safety_tips/.
Another opportunity to learn more about water safety is at the 2013 DFW Boat Expo!