VIP Marina Lake Travis

5 Texas Boating Laws You Need to Know

Aug 22, 2017 | Family Fun on the Lake | 0 comments

Owning or renting a boat can create some of the greatest fond memories that one could ever experience in their lifetime. However, it’s not without taking serious responsibility for yourself and passengers, the watercraft and fellow boaters, and the effects your actions can have on our waterways. The Texas Parks and Wildlife (TPW) works with the U.S. Coast Guard when creating and enforcing boating laws. To help you become more aware, we wanted to highlight 5 Texas boating laws you need to know.

1. Do I need to take a boater’s education course?

In accordance with the TPW, “anyone born on or after September 1, 1993 must complete an approved Boater Education Course in order to operate a personal watercraft (PWC), sailboat over 14’ long or motorboat with a motor greater than 15 horsepower.”

Fact: The U.S. Coast Guard reported 77% of deaths occurred on boats where the operator did not receive boating safety instruction.

2. Will my driver’s license be effected if I am arrested for driving my boat while intoxicated?

Yes. Your driver’s license may be automatically suspended in the event you are arrested for boating while intoxicated. In addition, you may be jailed up to 180 days and fined up to $2,000, or both.

 Fact: The U.S. Coast Guard reported alcohol was the leading contributing factor of fatal boating accidents.

3. Do I need to report a boating accident?

Boaters must report a boating accident within 30 days of the incident to the TPW, including a full description of the collision if the accident resulted in death (must be reported within 48 hours), or if a person sustained injuries requiring medical treatment, or damages exceeding $2,000.

Fact: The U.S. Coast Guard reported there were 4,463 accidents involving 701 deaths.

4. Must I wear a life jacket when riding or being towed by a PWC?

Yes. All occupants of a PWC must wear a USCG approved wearable life jacket. Inflatable life jackets are strictly prohibited.

Fact: The U.S. Coast Guard reported “8 out of every 10 boaters who drowned were using vessels less than 21’ in length.”

5. How many PFD’s am I required to have on board my boat?

Vessels under 16’ are required to have type I, II, III, or V for each person on board.Vessels 16’ or more are not only required to have type I, II, III, or V for each person on board, but also one throwable type IV device on board.

Fact: The U.S. Coast Guard reported that of the 80% of drownings where the cause of death was known, 83% were not wearing life jackets.

VIP Marina on Lake Travis would like to remind you to please, always practice responsible boating. The facts stated here were provided by the 2016 Recreational Boating Statistics comprised by the US Department of Homeland Security and the US Coast Guard.

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