Game Wardens Prepare for Busy Holiday Weekend - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

05/23/06 - East Texas

Game Wardens Prepare for Busy Holiday Weekend

by Ramonica R. Jones

"I make sure my kids stay seated in the boat at all times [and] keep their hands in the boat," said Larry Brewer. "We do a lot of trout-line fishing around here, so I don't want them sticking their hands out of the boat whenever they're running trout lines or anything. I don't want them falling in and drowning."

The boaters we caught up with at Etoile Park Tuesday seemed to know most of the rules and regulations of boating safety. Eddie Corbitt's been on the water for more than 50 years. He's never had an accident.

"It's in the game book - boating rules and regulations, safety precautions," Corbitt said. "You need to read all that information and stay safe."

Here are some other tips for preventing boat injuries and deaths: Everyone on board should always wear a life jacket while boating, even pets.

"Everybody in the boat needs to have a wearable life jacket that's appropriate for their age and their size," said Angelina County Game Warden James Barge. "That life jacket needs to be adjusted so that it fits properly, so that if somebody does wind up in the water, they don't wind up with the life jacket coming off and leaving them in the water without one."

Avoid drinking too much alcohol while boating. Game wardens filed about 45 BWIs last year in this region alone.

Barge said, "It's not against the law to come out here and drink, but it is against the law to drive a boat intoxicated or impaired and that'll definitely be one of the main things we'll be looking for out here this weekend."

Also, take a boating education class and have your boat checked for safety problems. Finally, know the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

In Texas, boating while intoxicated carries similar penalties as driving while intoxicated, but the state's open container law does not apply to watercraft, so it is not illegal to have an open container of alcohol on a boat in Texas.

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