Game Wardens Help Keep Public Safe during Memorial Day Weekend
AUSTIN – This past Memorial Day weekend, Texas Game Wardens patrolled Texas lakes and rivers to ensure visitors were recreating responsibly. They cited decreased accidents this year but noted increased citations and issued warnings and arrests.
Between Friday and Monday, 358 game wardens conducted 12,141 vessel checks across Texas — 19 percent more than in 2022. They responded to 13 accidents, two boating fatalities, and two drownings. The two boating fatalities occurred at Choke Canyon and the Neches River, and the two drownings at Toledo Bend and Lake Halbert.
“Although the weekend was relatively safe, unfortunately, deaths and drownings still occurred,” said Texas Game Warden Colonel Chad Jones. “Our sorrow and sympathy are with the family and friends of the victims as well as the game wardens who assisted in their rescue and recovery. We are proud that more people are aware of and practicing safe boating techniques, but we must continue to educate the public so everyone returns home safely.”
At Lewisville Lake, Kim Sorensen, Boating Education Manager for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), hosted an educational outreach program for visitors. Texas Game Wardens and Army Corps of Engineers Rangers joined her to complete vessel safety checks and assisted boaters by loaning them missing equipment. Other partners, LV Project, and Powerline Safety Initiative, joined TPWD and assisted with safety outreach and life jacket distribution.
“We had a successful event over the weekend,” said Sorensen. “Along with our partners, we reminded boaters to carry the appropriate boating safety equipment, including life jackets for all passengers on board, a fire extinguisher, a throwable device, a certificate of number, and their boater education card if they were born on or after September 1, 1993. Furthermore, we stressed that children under 12 must wear life jackets on board.”
In addition to vessel and safety checks on the water, game wardens assisted with many other incidents across the state, including Driving While Intoxicated violations, trespassing, pursuing a stolen vehicle, recovering a missing car, assault, and healing and transporting a small alligator.
Summer is the busiest time for Texas lakes and rivers, and everyone needs to continue practicing safe water and boating practices every time they hit the water. A complete list of safety equipment required is found in the Texas Water Safety Act. For more information about water safety, visit Water Safety — Texas Parks & Wildlife Department.