Texas Game Wardens Ramp up Boating Safety Patrols, Respond to Numerous Water-Related Incidents
AUSTIN – Texas Game Wardens logged nearly 13,000 patrol hours on state water bodies over the extended Fourth of July holiday weekend, conducting enhanced boating safety and compliance checks on 17,845 vessels carrying 60,673 boaters.
Game wardens were also first responders in several tragic water-related incidents across the state that resulted in 10 fatalities.
“I appreciate the hard work and dedication of our game wardens who work every day to protect our citizens and our natural resources,” said Col. Craig Hunter, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Law Enforcement Director. “We also realize this is a difficult time for families and friends who have lost loved ones and TPWD would like to extend our deepest sympathies to those affected by the tragedies.”
By and large, Texas boaters were found to be in compliance with game wardens issuing 1,854 citations and 1,610 warnings. On a sobering note, wardens made 55 BWI (boating while intoxicated) arrests and 9 DWI (driving while intoxicated) arrests, along with 42 additional arrests on other charges.
Of the 11 boating related accidents investigated by game wardens during the holiday, two involved fatalities, including a 25-year-old male believed to have died of natural causes while canoeing on the Devils River, and a couple who had gone missing after their unoccupied boat washed ashore on Lake Livingston. Both had drowned.
Game wardens also responded to seven non-boating related drownings on Texas public waters.
TPWD recommends you learn to swim, closely supervise children while on or near the water, utilize a designated driver, wear a life vest, take a boater education course, and use the ignition safety switch while operating a motorized vessel. Additional information about boater safety is available on the TPWD web site.