TEXARKANA, Texas (KTAL/KMSS) – As the weather gets warmer and more people are heading outdoors and many are spending time on the water.
Within the last month, the Texarkana Region has experienced two water-related accidents. The Texas Game Warden says it’s unusual for this area. Now they’re warning residents before they head to the lake this season.
“So when you have more people on the water you’re going to see – unfortunately, you’re going to see more drownings, more accidents,” said Daniel Kessler with the Texas Game Warden.
Many COVID-19 restrictions are lifted and people are gearing up and heading outdoors. According to the Texas Game Warden, with more people wanting to fish, boat sales are at record levels in the state.
“The number of fishing licenses has drastically increased. People weren’t able to go to work. They didn’t want to sit at their house. So they went out and bought fishing licenses and were fishing,” said Kessler.
Kessler recommends familiarizing yourself with the boating equipment before sailing away.
“If you were born before or on or after September first 19-93 by law you’re required to take a boater education course before you can legally operate a boat in the state of Texas,” said Kessler.
Kessler says the best way to prepare is creating a safety plan and reviewing it with everyone.
“Let other people know whether it’d be family or friends let other people know where you’re going. How long you plan on being gone. If you are going to be on the lake or river let people know which boat ramp you’re going to be launching your boat from,” said Kessler.
Anyone caught without the proper safety equipment, license, and registration for a motorized boat could receive a citation up to five hundred dollars.
“Were looking for things such as is there a wearable life jacket for every person on board. Is there a fire extinguisher? Is there a sound-producing device? Is there a – we call it a throw cushion, but it’s a type four P-F-D? To be thrown to someone who might be having an emergency in the water,” said Kessler.
If you’re partying on a boat this summer, the game warden says to avoid being intoxicated and going into the water.
For additional safety information and education courses visit the Texas Boater Education website.