AUSTIN— As Texans hit the waterways across the state to recognize July Fourth, Texas Game Wardens were out in force to ensure everyone stayed safe on the water.
“Texas Game Wardens partnered with thousands of law enforcement agencies across the country for Operation Dry Water to focus on impacts of alcohol on boaters during high-traffic weekends like July 4th,” said Cody Jones, Assistant Commander for Marine Enforcement with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. “These efforts are represented in the work we did during the July 4th weekend.”
In addition to issuing 1,560 citations and 1,976 warnings for various boating safety law violations, wardens arrested 49 individuals for Boating While Intoxicated (BWI) and filed eight other charges for Driving While Intoxicated (DWI). Additionally, another 23 people were arrested for various other charges.
Texas Game Wardens also conducted multiple search and rescues over the holiday weekend. Additionally, they assisted with 38 reportable boating accidents at several Texas lakes and rivers.
Game wardens were involved statewide with numerous waterway assists or other incidents.
In Hunt County, game wardens responded to a reported drowning in the swim beach at West Tawakoni City Park. The patient was airlifted in critical condition but now is expected to make full recovery.
Willacy County game wardens conducted a boating rescue just outside Port Mansfield Harbor. A recreational vessel capsized within the intercoastal waterway on the way into Port Mansfield. Game wardens rescued four occupants who were in the water without personal floatation devices (PFDs). All occupants were safely taken to shore without injuries.
Game wardens patrolling South Padre Island encountered a boat with too many people on board. When wardens approached to conduct a safety check, the boat took on water over the bow and three passengers fell off. No one was injured and all passengers were transported safely to land.
Texas Game Wardens also dealt with one boating fatality and 10 open-water fatalities on Texas waterways over the Independence Day weekend. The boating-related fatality occurred on Canyon Lake. Open-water fatality locations included the Lake Ray Hubbard, West Galveston Bay, Lake Houston, Lake Conroe, Guadalupe River, Lake Travis, Lake Texana, Canyon Lake and the Gulf of Mexico.