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Memorial Day weekend: Officials give water safety advice

Law enforcement on Friday urged folks to keep safety at top of mind for those heading out on the water.

HOUSTON — Memorial Day weekend is considered the unofficial kick-off to summer and boating season here in Texas. 

Law enforcement on Friday urged folks to keep safety at top of mind for those heading out on the water.

The Houston Police Department's Marine Unit is preparing for a busy weekend on Lake Houston. The team will have additional crews out on the lake conducting random safety checks.

Officer Alfonso Garcia said they’ve seen an increase in traffic on the lake. 

“We noticed that after COVID, a lot of people started buying boats, our boat traffic started increasing," he said.

Garcia said they’re working to educate boaters on the current laws and requirements when operating a vessel.

He said they’re also keeping an eye out for those who may be drinking while boating

"I think what happens is a lot of people are not educated and knowing that boating while intoxicated is actually a law such as driving as intoxicated,” he said. 

Garcia said one of the most common citations is for people without a life jacket. Last week their crews responded to a number of watercraft rescues. He said in situations like those, life jackets are key. 

"Life jackets will save your lives," he stressed.

HPD Boating Requirements:

  • Serviceable fire extinguisher
  • Proof of registration
  • Horn or whistle
  • Children under the age of 13 are required to have a boater education card
  • Every person on board must have a life jacket, children under 13 required to wear it at all times

Garcia said these requirements are simple reminders to allow you to enjoy the water and get home safely.

“We don't want to go out there and start writing a bunch of citations, if we can educate you, that’s our main purpose, goal is to be,” said Garcia.

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