Memorial Day weekend: Boat safety on central Texas lakes

Texas Game Wardens are reminding boaters about safety protocols ahead of what’s expected to be a busy weekend on the lakes around town.

Authorities are urging people to enjoy the parks and lakes, but do so safely.

"Last weekend was already Fourth of July type of crowds, so we’re expecting that this weekend," Texas Game Warden Jaron Cox said.

To keep everyone safe, they have some safety reminders for boaters.

The required safety equipment includes life jackets for everyone on the boats. For children, if they are 12 and under, they must wear a life jacket while the boat is moving. The boat must have an engine cut off switch device, a whistle or horn, mirrors, and lights.

"Be conscious of your surroundings, if you’re going to consume alcohol, have a designated driver and make sure that designated driver knows how to operate the boat," Cox said.

If the laws aren’t followed, Game warden Cox said, "it could be a ticket, if it’s severe enough, it could be jail."

Jet skis, wet bikes, motorized surfboards, and similar devices are prohibited on Lake Austin until Tuesday morning as it can be dangerous with a lot of boats out at the same time.

"It is narrow, you can see from here all the way over to here is not far, so if you get a bunch of boats going back and forth, that wake, be cautious of it because if you get that over your boat, you will sink," Cox said.


Authorities said that’s what happened to one group last August.

"It bounced to the right, ejected, possibly one patient, maybe more, lost control and then hit the bank on the river's right side," CE-Bar ESD10 Fire Department Assistant Chief Ken Campbell said.

The body of 14-year-old Kaden Forke was recovered the next day. Texas Parks and Wildlife reported 175 boating accidents resulting in 28 deaths on Texas waters last year.

Texas Game Wardens will be out this weekend on Lake Austin, Lake Travis, and Decker Lake.