With the long Memorial Day weekend just days away, and with thousands of people heading for the great outdoors, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is busy promoting safe, responsible and sober boating on the state's rivers and lakes.

 

 

Anyone who owns a boat already knows -- or should know -- how to operate a boat safely.  After all, state law requires boat owners to take a boater safety education course.

The TPWD Boating Safety Tips page has some rules for safe fishing and recreational boating, but the list can be boiled down to three basic rules:

Leave the booze at home, don't overload your boat, and make everybody on your boat wear a life jacket.  That one rule -- the life jacket -- can save lives even if both the other rules are ignored. It's a fact that the vast majority of people who die in boating accidents were not wearing a life jacket.

TPWD game wardens will be out in force this weekend watching for overloaded boats, checking for life jackets and arresting drunk boaters.

Boating while intoxicated is a serious offense that's treated the same way drunk driving is treated, with stiff fines and jail time. 

Drunk boaters can also have their Driver's License suspended.

Think about these things any time you take your family and friends out in the boat.

If fishing is in your plans, you may be interested to know there are a lot of places where you can fish for free.  Some are only a short drive from Lufkin and Nacogdoches.