Texas rangers issue more than 1,400 quotes in response to the Lake Travis drowning incident on the weekend of July 4th

Texas rangers assisted an open water death on Lake Travis over the holiday weekend. (Phyllis Campos / Community Impact Newspaper)

Independence Day weekend kept Texas rangers busy when thousands of people flocked to the Texas waterways.

More than 1,474 boat safety violations and 1,797 warnings were issued from July 2-4, according to a July 8th press release from the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department. 42 people nationwide were arrested for boating while drunk.

Guards also assisted with several search and rescue missions and responded to 18 boat crashes, including one on Lake Austin and two on Lake Travis. In Travis County, the TPWD dive team assisted an open-water fatality on Lake Travis that required the help of 10 rangers, four ships and one helicopter per release. The incident was one of seven open water deaths in Texas over the holiday weekend.

“The dedicated efforts of the rangers in working on these traffic incidents are second to none and never the easiest part of the job,” said Cody Jones, TPWD deputy commandant for enforcement, in the news release. “We keep the families who have suffered in our thoughts and prayers.”

The incidents come at a time when the TPWD and rangers are stressing the safety of water and boaters. Nationwide, Boating crashes hit a 30-year high in 2020, and the death toll in waterways rose 45%, according to TPWD.

The department recently partnered with local agencies like Austin Lake Patrol and Austin Park Rangers to host free hosts Ship safety reviews July 4th at Lady Bird Lake. Volunteers conducted safety demonstrations and performed checks on paddle boats, including kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards.

According to the press release, TPWD Boater Education Managers Kimberly Sorensen and Austin Lake Patrol contacted 60 people who did not have proper life jackets on their paddle boats – a violation of the Texas Water Safety Act, which states that everyone on board must have a life jacket Is easily accessible and anyone under the age of 12 must wear a jacket.

Community Impact Newspaper previously reported that 40% of fatal waterway incidents in 2020 involved a paddle boat.

“Many accidents and deaths could be avoided by taking a boating course and using life jackets,” Sorensen said in the statement.

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