Water safety is becoming more of a priority for the nation’s game wardens, particularly in the state of Texas where at least a dozen people have died in water-related incidents since early May of this year.
Late spring and early summer typically see higher numbers of injuries and fatalities resulting from swimming and boating related incidents. This year, however, has already seen an unusually high number of these incidents and if the trend continues into the summer months, it could mean record numbers of injuries and deaths on Texas waters.
Game wardens around the country are teaming up with boater education experts in an effort to ensure that people are thoroughly informed about the dangers of water activities and how to avoid becoming a victim.
There were nearly 150 water-related accidents reported in Texas by the US Coast Guard, more than 30 of which resulted in the loss of life. Almost 85 percent of these tragedies could have been prevented, as 85% of the reported incidents involved individuals who were not wearing life preserves.
Game wardens stress the importance of citizens adhering to Texas state laws that mandates that boats have one personal floatation device on board for each occupant. Children under the age of 13 are required by law to actually be wearing a floatation device when the boat is not docked or is drifting. Despite the mandates of Texas state law, Game wardens issued more than 700 citations in 2013 for children not wearing life preservers on the water.
Wardens have also pointed to intoxication as another major problem among boaters. Wardens issued more than 200 citations in Texas in 2013 to individuals who were found to be intoxicated while operating a watercraft. According to the Assistant Commander for Marine Enforcement in Texas, wardens will be exercising an added degree of vigilance in patrolling the waters in the state of Texas looking for individuals who are intoxicated.