5 ways to protect your family
For many families, the summer means boating and swimming season. But it can also mean danger, as one of the worst drowning weekends of the year. Please take these extra precautions for a safe, fun holiday.
1. Don’t drink and drive. This takes on dual meaning, both on the road and in the water. According to the Texas Parks & Wildlife website, open containers on boats are legal, but operators of boats are subject to boating while intoxicated laws, the same as driving a vehicle. “Operators or passengers may also be subject to public intoxication laws. Drinking and boating is DANGEROUS and the cause of most boating fatalities,” the site said.
2. You also need a license. You need to know how to operate your boat, just like a car. The course is $20. In Texas a person cannot operate a windblown vessel over 14 feet in length, a motorboat with more than 15 horsepower, or personal watercraft unless he/she:
- Was born on or after September 1, 1993 and has passed a boater education class or equivalency examination prescribed by the department.
- Is 18 years of age and can lawfully operate the motorboat and is on board the motor boat when underway.
- Is at least 13 years of age and have successfully completed a boater education course approved by the Department.
3. Kids don’t get on a personal watercraft without an adult. Children under 13 are specifically prohibited from operating a PWC unless accompanied on board by a person at least 18 years of age.
4. Life jackets are an absolute must!! Everyone on any watercraft at the lake should be outfitted with a jacket. When selecting a life jacket, size matters. Learn more from the Texas Parks & Wildlife site.
5. Teach your kids to swim. Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional injury-related death in children ages 1 to 4 years old and the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for ages 1 to 14. Whether if it’s in a lake or a pool, your child needs to know how to swim. Learn more today or start them on swim lessons this weekend.
Drowning is the third leading cause of unintentional death among children ages 14 and under. Learn steps you can take to prevent drownings or near drownings in your pool, the lake or other areas where there is water.