Sheriff's office stresses importance of water safety this summer

Warm temperatures are luring boaters and swimmers to Central Texas lakes.

With summer on the way, the Travis County Sheriff's Office and local boat rental companies are talking about water safety.

"It's horrible, it is the last thing we want to see. We want everyone who comes out to have a good time, and we hate to see anyone's good time turn into a tragedy," said Kristen Dark, Travis County Sheriff's Office spokesperson.

In 2023, four missing swimmers were recovered from Lake Travis. In 2022,there were six missing swimmers recovered.

The year before that, there were 10 missing swimmers recovered, according to TCSO.

"The primary piece of advice I can give is to make sure you are wearing a life jacket, make sure you are wearing that flotation device. We have never recovered someone from Lake Travis who had on a safety vest," said Dark.

"Anyone under the age of 13, by law, has to wear a life jacket at all times while on a boat. It helps you stay afloat in case anything happens," said Collin Cornwell, Big Tex Boat Rentals owner.

If a swimmer is assisting with a possible drowning, the sheriff's office also suggests wearing a life jacket to help with the rescue.

"That lake is up to 200 feet deep in certain places, it doesn't matter how good of a swimmer you are, when an emergency strikes, you literally have seconds, so it is important to use every safety precaution you can," said Dark.

The sheriff's office said it is important to maintain a safe distance, have a sound signaling device and know where you are on any lake. This can be determined using mile markers or landmarks.

"It is also important that you follow other safety precautions, another one is not to drink and operate a boat," said Dark.

"Definitely don't drink and drive a boat. It is highly against the law when it comes to drinking on the lake. It gets really humid so be responsible and drink a bunch of water," said Cornwell.

Cornwell says during the Memorial Day weekend, large groups of boaters spent the day at Lake Travis and Lake Austin.

There were no reported drownings by the Austin Police Department or Travis County Sheriff’s Office.