Game wardens warn East Texans of boating dangers this weekend

ANGELINA COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - Justin Havard is one of dozens of boaters taking to Lake Sam Rayburn this weekend.

"It's great to be out and be in the water and just have fun with your friends," said boater, Justin Harvard.

Game warden, Shawn Phillips, says the good weather and rise in lake levels are sure to attract more people to East Texas waterways.

"It's definitely better than it was last year," said Texas Parks and Wildlife Captain Game Warden, Shawn Phillips.

Phillips says many lakes have returned to their normal levels, making conditions more favorable for boating this holiday weekend. Lake patrols are looking for boaters under the influence. The rules of the road apply here too. According to Texas Parks and Wildlife, alcohol plays a role in 50 percent of boating accidents.

"Looking at statistics, alcohol does play a contributing factor, as far as boat accidents. You know all boat accidents that occur that alcohol is not related. But when alcohol is related, you know, it does seem to be a higher incidence of boat accidents," said Phillips.

Havard is taking that seriously.

"Me personally, I don't, but I have friends that want to drink. And, I'll say okay, that's fine. I mean, I'm not going to, but I'll take care of you," said Havard.

He doesn't mind being the designated driver for his friends, especially after seeing another hurt in an accident.

"He was just swimming out kind of in the open, and the boat did not see him. And, it came across and ran across him," said Havard.

Even if they aren't your own, you can expect kids will be in the water too.

"Parents just need to make sure that they're supervising their kids very close when they get around water related activities," said Phillips.

Safety is easy, Phillips says, if you pay attention. Game wardens will be enforcing the boating while intoxicated law this weekend. If found intoxicated, you could be jailed for up to 180 days and/ or fined up to two thousand dollars. Officials also encourage all those boating to wear life jackets.

Copyright 2012 KTRE. All rights reserved.