Memorial Day weekend brings annual ban on Lake Austin

Starting Friday evening the Austin Police Department will be issuing a ban of personal watercrafts on Lake Austin for Memorial Day weekend. The annual ban is to help keep the large crowds of people safe on the water. 

The ban only applies to devices such as: jet skis, wet bikes, motorized surfboards or similar devices.

However, non-motorized devices such as kayaks, canoes and paddleboards can still be used.

“We are working to do our part to keep people safe. Traditionally Memorial Day weekend is the kick off for summer, we know this time of year we will see a lot of people come out to enjoy our lake,” said Kristen Dark, APD Senior Public Information Officer.

Just recenlty we’ve had two drawings on Lake Travis, the most recent one was of a woman who fell off of a party boat in near Volente Beach. “To this point we have executed shoreline surface searches. The dive team has been on the water every day,” said Dark. 

Dr. Michelle Strong with St. Daivids South Austin Medical Center said she seen the same type of water related injuries, including her fair share of reckless boating injuries. “As far as drownings, their on the water drinking or playing in the water they may run into each other get injured. It could be a boating accidents those are the things we see the most,” said Strong. 

She said it’s not just drowning that lands people in the hospital. “You know stay hydrated with cool water. Wear hats sunglasses when you are out in the sun and sun screen.” 

Police will also be patrolling Lake Austin, looking for boaters who are driving drunk, speeding and acting reckless. Roads and highways will also see an increase in police presence. 

“Our goal is to reduce passenger crashes reduce the amount of unsafe drivers and reduce the cost of damage. And to reduce the amount of intoxicated drivers,” said Dark. 

Officers will also be out watching out for drunk drivers on area roads and will be conducting a "no refusal initiative" which will be implemented every weekend for the rest of the summer.