AUSTIN, Texas – This heat wave has given us a taste of the summer season. Before you hit the water with friends and family, local authorities and boat experts want you to remember one thing: safety first.
Water activities are a must in Austin, and the number of people taking part in them only increases during the summer season. Lake residents have noticed a general increase in traffic on the water since the pandemic.
“Boat sales have exploded. They are standing. Everyone buys boats. A lot more traffic on the water, a lot of new boaters on the water, and that’s why you need to be careful and have your boat serviced and have all your safety equipment on the boat,” said Hamilton Bradshaw, Owner of Navy H&M.
This includes a decorative cushion, a fire extinguisher, a sound producing device and a life jacket.
“The cushion you need, so if somebody’s having trouble in the water, you can throw it at them and it’s a flotation device. A horn, so you can alert and alert other boats if you get in the way. Fire extinguisher, if there is a fire on another boat or on your boat. The life jacket is on board in case something happens. Everyone needs a life jacket,” Bradshaw said.
Wearing a life jacket can mean the difference between life and death.
“In my 13 years in law enforcement and all the drownings I have encountered here and the recoveries I have had, I can tell you this, they are all preventable. I’ve never picked up a drowning victim wearing their life jacket. It’s something you need to have on your boat,” said Mark Kessler, a Travis County Sheriff’s Office deputy assigned to the Lake Patrol Unit.
Swimming in a lake is different from your neighborhood pool. The bottom is not always at hand.
“You come here and you don’t stay hydrated, and you choose to drink beer or an alcoholic beverage instead of water and hydrate your body. You could suffer from cramps that could cause you to sink. You will fatigue much faster. Panic sets in and if you don’t have the proper flotation device it could cost you your life and drown,” Kessler said.
It reminds boaters that when you go out and have fun, do it responsibly. Drinking while driving a boat is illegal, just like driving a car.
“An operator’s number one responsibility and priority should be the safety of their passengers, and they carry a deep responsibility behind that bar. If they don’t do it soberly, it’s usually proven by their recklessness, negligence, and degree of intoxication, which will lead to deficiency. You can ultimately be arrested and charged with impaired driving,” Kessler said.
You can be arrested and charged with a DUI if you drive while intoxicated.