ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Memorial Day weekend brings fun times in the sun and on the lake with family, but all that celebration doesn’t mean the rules can be thrown overboard.
“We are always out in force for these kinds of things, it’s a public safety issue. You’ve got a lot of people that haven’t operated in a while or new boat owners that are trying out their boat. and a lot of alcohol can be consumed, so we’re always out there to protect the public and keep everyone safe,” says Taylor County Game Warden James Cummings.
There must be a life jacket on board for every person on the boat. Those 12 and under must be wearing the jacket at all times.
Up-to-date registration, an onboard fire extinguisher, and functional nighttime lighting on your boat are also required before your vessel hits the water.
Violations of this nature can carry a $25-$500 fine and are easily avoidable.
“Oh yeah, super easy, and all that falls under the recreational safe boating act,” said Cummings.
Larger violations carry much larger fines and even jail time in severe cases.
“Alcohol can involve boat accidents, and a boat is just like a vehicle, you can’t have .08 or above operating a boat,” said Cummings.
Aside from being illegal, driving a boat while drunk carries all the same consequences as an on-land DUI. Not to mention the danger to yourself and all others enjoying the weekend festivities.
“We just want everybody to be safe. Watch your alcohol consumption on the boat, wear a life jacket, and know your limits on the water.” Says Cummings.
A comprehensive list of boating safety rules as well as links to license certification can be found on the Texas Parks & Wildlife website.