Texas game wardens will be patrolling the state’s public waters this Labor Day Weekend to make sure all boaters, anglers and swimmers get home safely. They will be on the lookout for boat operators who have had too much to drink.

So far this year, TPWD game wardens have arrested 148 people statewide for boating while intoxicated. In 2014, game wardens took 163 people to jail for BWI.

Because boating while intoxicated is just as dangerous as driving while intoxicated for everyone involved, it provides the same penalties as DWI, including fines and possible jail time.

Last year in Texas, 167 boating accidents were reported by the U.S. Coast Guard, 34 of which ended with deaths. In 17 of the fatal cases, alcohol was a contributing factor.

When heading out to the water, don’t drink if you are going to be operating a boat, wear your lifejacket even if you are a good swimmer and if on a personal watercraft, keep at least 50 feet away from other PWCs, vessels, the shore or any object such as a boat dock.

Boating Safety Tips

•Wear a personal flotation device

•Avoid alcohol

•Be especially careful on personal watercrafts

•Children younger than 13 must wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket while underway

•Take a boater education class

•Don’t overload your boat

•Operate at a safe speed

•Have a passenger serving as a lookout in addition to the operator

•In light of the ongoing drought, watch out for low water areas or submerged objects

•Carry extra PFDs in both adult and child sizes

•PWC operators and passengers must wear a life jacket

•Maintain a 50-foot distance from other PWCs, vessels, persons, shore, stationary platform or other objects unless operating at idle speed

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