TCSO to increase presence on lakes during Fourth of July weekend

Ten people drowned in Lake Travis last year. It's a number law enforcement never wants to see again.

"Many of the people who have lost their lives are not from the Austin area. They've come from out of town, and they have either rented a vessel or they have gotten on to a party barge and don’t know a lot about our lake," said Kristen Dark, spokesperson for Travis County Sheriff's Office.

Lake Travis is very low due to drought, and police said it can often be full of hidden hazards.

"There are hazards today that were not hazards two weeks ago or maybe last summer," said Mjr. Craig Smith, Travis County Sheriff’s Office.

"It has an uneven bottom and at times in this part of the world, it also has rock ledges and drop-offs that can be dangerous for unsuspecting swimmers," said John Hofmann, executive vice-president for water at Lower Colorado River Authority.

In anticipation of the holiday weekend, the TCSO and LCRA have teamed up for a "Be Lake Wise" campaign.

"We have some stickers we are providing to boat rental companies. We want them to put these on the boat," said Smith.

Also, they will be handing out products, including keychains, with safety information on it. It may seem like a small gesture, but it can make a world of a difference. Each piece of information outlines some important safety tips.

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"I cannot stress this enough. A personal floatation device is the number one way to prevent drownings," said Hofmann.

"Tragedy can happen in an instant. It only takes a second for someone to lose their life in Lake Travis," said Smith.

Boat rental company owner Pete Clark stressed the importance of abiding by rental company policies. "Listen to the local instructions. All the boat rental companies give a good set of safety procedures and instructions," said Clark.

Law enforcement will be beefing up patrols this holiday weekend. They want people to have fun but more importantly do so safely.