AUSTIN (KXAN) - A lot of folks are enjoying the weekend out on the water, but watch out there are beefed up patrols looking for reckless or drunken driving.
Half of all boating deaths involve alcohol, and after an influx of drunk boating cases on Lake Austin, game wardens from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department are cracking down.
Hot weather, boats and a cold drink are a perfect combination for a day of fun out on the lake. Chris Hunt and his group of friends decided to spend the day on Lake Austin.
"We thought it would come out and have a good time to celebrate my friend getting married," said Hunt.
It's a bachelor party that decided to do things responsibly. The group decided to get a designated captain. It's something many boaters on Lake Austin don't do.
"When you have alcohol introduced into your system it shows you can not operate in a safe manner," said Chris Sanchez, an officer with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
They've seen an influx of drunken boaters on Lake Austin. This year alone there have been 22 citations issued.
"This seems to be an abnormal year we have arrested more people for boating while intoxicated on this lake," said game warden Jeff Hill.
It's a dangerous combination, and the penalties can be just as stiff as driving drunk on land.
Officers say the rules out on the water are so strict for boating while intoxicated because most times drunk boaters end up getting in their cars after they're done on the lake, making for an even more dangerous situation.
"People assume boating is separate from driving, but really it's the same thing you are operating a motor vehicle accidents can happen," said Hunt. "It's not going to be a good time if by the end of the day something goes wrong."
Game wardens plan to continue their patrols until they see the numbers decline. They're making sure the fun on the lake doesn't take a dangerous turn, and sending a message to boaters to think before they drink.
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