Personal watercraft ban on Lake Austin for Fourth of July

The Austin Police Department says it will ban the use of motorized personal watercrafts on Lake Austin this week. This is to ensure safety on the lake during the July 4th holiday.

The city ordinance will go into effect Wednesday, July 3 and last until Friday, July 5.

"The biggest thing is jet skis, which is what we are going to be looking for out on Lake Austin. Since it is going to be busy with boat traffic, we are trying to tamper it down," says Austin Police Department Lake Patrol Unit Corporal Jeremy Bowman.

The ban also includes the use of wet bikes, motorized surfboards, and devices that are operated by a person sitting, standing, or kneeling on the vessel, according to Austin police.

"If we do come across a personal watercraft on July 4th, what we will probably do is pull them over, talk to them, explain to them the city ordinance says you can't be out here today," said Corporal Bowman.

The police department says the use of non-motorized devices like kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards are allowed on the lake.

"If it avoids people getting run over by jet skis, then that is probably a good thing," said Lexi, who frequents the lake.

APD says the city ordinance is necessary to ensure the safety of those using the parks and lake during the Fourth of July.

"Initially I was a little confused as to why that day that most people would want to be on the water would be the one, but also people do get crazy," says Lexi.

"I want everyone to come out here and have fun, but it is the same thing as a car, you can't be driving drunk on your boat, BWI. That is what we are trying to avoid," said Corporal Bowman.

Police will patrol the waterway while the ban is in effect and encourage boaters to follow the Texas Water Safety Act and the city of Austin boating laws and ordinances.

"If we do pull you over for whatever reason, we are going to be checking for life jackets, the registration on your boat certificate number, going to make sure you have all the things you are required to have while boating," said Corporal Bowman.

The ban will be removed around sunset on Friday, July 5.