Weather Ready Nation Report: Boating Safety

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LUBBOCK, Texas — Summertime is known for days by the pool, cookouts, and even days spent on the lake. This time of year is the busiest for the Texas Game Warden as they patrol the lakes non-stop during the summer. Texas Game Warden Drew Spencer says when they’re out on the water, they’re just making sure that people are being safe. “Safety is paramount. Safety is paramount. That’s why we’re even out here. That’s the only reason we’re out here is safety.” Spencer says. “Unfortunately when we approach a boat a lot of times they think we’re the fun police. In fact, we hear ‘you’re the fun police you’re here to ruin my fun’ and that’s absolutely not the case. We’re here to enhance the fun. One way to ruin a day very quickly is an injury or a death and a quick way to get there is unfortunately being intoxicated while operating a boat.”

Texas State Game Wardens conduct safety inspections on all water vessels to make sure that they not only are operating a boat or jet ski responsibly, but also to make sure they have the necessary equipment on board. Texas Game Warden Aaron Sims tells us what you need on board beyond the registration. “Some simple things that you might not think of are fire extinguishers, a type four throw-able cushion that you’ll throw to somebody in case they go overboard, but I’d say the number one thing you want to make sure you have is a life jacket. This is essential.” Sims also says that anyone who is under the age of thirteen needs to be wearing a life jacket at all times.

Safety checks are also critical in determining whether or not people are drinking responsibly and while it is completely legal to drink and operate a boat, they just want to ensure that the person behind the wheel isn’t intoxicated. Spencer says that operating a vessel intoxicated has the same repercussions as a DWI and to avoid getting charged with a BWI, or Boating While Intoxicated charge, your blood alcohol content must be below 0.08.

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