The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is reminding Texans to be safe and vigilant this Memorial Day weekend since more people are expected to be out on area lakes this year.
Texas Game Wardens will be out in full force this holiday weekend to make sure people are enjoying their time on the water responsibly.
It's simple: follow the law, and take basic safety precautions if you're headed to the water.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife guidance comes at a critical time.
Fatalities on Texas waterways increased 45% in 2020 from 2019, according to the TWPD while deadly accidents on the water rose by 61%. Already this year, from January through April, Texas has seen a 40% increase in open water- fatalities.
The months of May through August traditionally have the highest numbers of injuries and deaths statewide, with weekends seeing the peak figures.
The TPWD says most of the deaths and serious injuries that occurred in Texas waters last year were preventable by following a few simple, important steps, including using the safety ignition cut-off switch and wearing life jackets.
It is Texas state law that a life jacket must be available for each occupant of a boat or paddle craft. Children who are under the age of 13 are required to wear a life vest while on the boat. Also, law enforcement will be on the lookout for those driving a boat under the influence of drugs or alcohol which is an offense that can lead to fines and the loss of a driver’s license.
The department is strongly urging people to stay vigilant this weekend.
There are virtual and in-person events happening all weekend across North Texas. Our media partners at the Dallas Morning News have put together a dozen in-person and virtual events that will mark the holiday.