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Media Contact: Kristen Everett, 512-389-8046, tpwd.news@tpwd.texas.gov [KE]

TPWD Website: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us

TPWD News Release — Aug. 9, 2004

Boating Safety Reminders for All

Extra! Read All Aboat It!

UNDATED — Since the Memorial Day week kick-off of boating season, Texas Parks and Wildlife game wardens have been out in full force attempting to make Texas waters safer.

There is good news this year though. The number of boating-related fatalities on Texas public waterways has sharply decreased between 2002 and 2003.

In 2002, 61 people died. And last year, 39 did.

The decrease can’t be credited or attributed to any one factor and could be due to anything from weather to flooding to safer behaviors.

"Texas is different from many other states in that we have a year-round boating season. We also have more inland water than any of the 48 continental states. We have a coastline and all the activity there as well. We also have one of the highest number of registered boats in the nation. We just have a lot of activity. With all this in mind, we feel like overall, boating is a safe activity in Texas," said Willie Gonzalez, assistant chief of marine enforcement at TPWD.

A reminder: a law that went into effect in 2001 includes the suspension of a driver’s license for failing to submit to alcohol testing when suspected of operating a vessel while intoxicated. This applies to watercrafts of 50 horse power or more.

Notable boating regulations include:

Game wardens will be conducting media ride-alongs all summer. For more information, contact your local game warden office. Also, TPWD boater education courses are available in a traditional classroom setting, on line and through a home video course. Call (800) 792-1112 or visit (http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/edu/boated/boated.htm).

TPWD is now compiling data for 2004 and will release it in the coming weeks.

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