Texas Game Warden's Step-up Enforcement for Boating Safety - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Texas Game Warden's Step-up Enforcement for Boating Safety

Boaters on lake meredith are facing extra safety enforcement by the texas parks and wildlife department.

Saturday was just the first stage in a summer long program in which the texas parks and wildlife department will be increasing patrols on the three big panhandle lakes: meredith, greenbelt and mackenzie.

"We're out here at Lake Meredith today we've got a beefed up operation today. We have extra personnel and extra equipment on the lake today. We're looking for safety violations checking all the boats we can check for safety violations. Telling people what they need when they don't have it. Getting them squared away,"said Captain Game Warden Robert Levens.

The game wardens on the water today are stressing three things, safety, education, and enforcement.

Boaters without the proper safety equipment on board are being cited.

"Stopping boats, checking for registration, life jackets, fire extinguishers, horns, whistles, all their safety equipment," said Game Warden Lance Lindley. 

Game wardens also look for a throwable life saving device and if necessary, fishing licenses.

But they're not scanning the waters just for safety equipment.

The main reason they're increasing enforcement efforts is to stop people from boating while intoxicated.

The parks and wildlife department chose to kick off this program at Lake Meredith because within the past month they've already had two BWI cases.

Alcohol is involved in half of boating accidents in texas.

But alcohol or not, the game wardens are requiring safe boating this summer.

"We're in a zero tolerance mode right now if there's a violation on boats we are citing everybody for everything today. We're also looking for intoxicated operators, they will be arrested and taken off the lake today and booked into jail," said Captain Game Warden Levens.

Today they've made 12 citations for safety violations and no BWI's but that number is up from 20 citations on lake meredith in the entire year of 2007.

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