Get Up to Date on Water Safety Laws before July 4th Weekend
This weekend, we'll be celebrating our nation's birthday with time on the lake, grilling with the family, fireworks and a lot more. With that celebration comes the need to be extremely safe while doing it. Texas Parks and Wildlife remind us this weekend of some laws that must be followed by everyone on the water in East Texas this weekend and beyond.
First off, anyone who was born on or after September 1, 1993, must complete a Boater Education course to operate any personal watercraft with a motor over fifteen horsepower. The course can be taken online or in person and costs $29.95 plus a $10 State Fee. Get all the details at tpwd.texas.gov/education/boater-education/.
All children under the age of 13 MUST wear a lifejacket while on the water. The life jacket should fit snug around the torso. If you lift the shoulder straps, they should not raise above the ears. When purchasing a life vest, be sure to try it on first to make sure it fits properly. Get all the details on proper life vest fitting at tpwd.texas.gov/regulations/outdoor-annual/boating/required-safety-equipment/personal-flotation-devices-pfds.
Here's where the laws can get a bit tricky. It is NOT illegal to have an open container in the passenger area of your boat. However, you can be arrested for being intoxicated behind the wheel of your boat. You can also have your driver's license suspended if you are arrested for being intoxicated behind the wheel of your boat. This will happen if the engine of the boat is fifty horsepower or above and/or the driver refuses to be tested to determine their level of intoxication.
Another thing to keep in mind is the city where a lake is located can pass their own laws specific to that body of water. To know those laws, go to tpwd.texas.gov/fishboat/fish/recreational/lakes/lakelist.phtml.
This weekend, this Summer, any time you are out on the lake, have a great time. Just be smart about the good time you are having to ensure that everyone stays safe.