Boating safety - what you need for a safe July 4 on the water

Boating safety: What you need for a safe July 4 on the water

SAN ANTONIO – As sure as fireworks will fill the sky this weekend, boats will fill Texas lakes and rivers as families celebrate the long holiday weekend.

If you’re out on your boat, Texas Game Wardens may end up stopping you for a water safety check. We spoke with Game Warden Roland Fuentes out of Bexar County about what you’ll need to have with you, and what Game Wardens will be looking for.

Registration - Make sure you have the registration for your boat with you.

ID for Operator - A driver’s license works best, but other government IDs or documents, like your fishing license or concealed carry card, are also acceptable.

Boater Education Card (or other proof) - If you were born on or after Sep. 1, 1993, you must take a boater education course to operate a motor boat or jet ski in Texas. Completing the course should provide you with a card you should have with you. Fuentes says an email receipt from the course should work as well.

Life Jackets - You need one for everyone onboard, and kids 12 years and under must be wearing theirs while the boat is underway.

Throwable Personal Flotation Device - Type IV PFDs normally come in the form of a seat cushion or a ring.

Fire Extinguisher

Kill Switch - The boat operator must attach the engine kill switch to them if the boat is going faster than headway speed.

Horn/Whistle - Power boats and jet skis must have some kind sound-producing device on board.

Alcohol - You’re allowed to drink and have open containers on board, even if you’re the boat operator. However, as with roadways, boat operators must stay below a 0.08 blood alcohol concentration.

Lights - Your boat must have navigation lights on your boat after sunset. Jet skis are not allowed on the water after sunset or before sunrise.

About the Authors:

Garrett Brnger is a reporter with KSAT 12.

Misael started at KSAT-TV as a photojournalist in 1987.