AUSTIN (KXAN) - Not to be a downer about one of summer's most iconic activities,but every year, dozens of people die in boating accidents andhundreds more are injured .
In 2008 alone, 62 people died on Texas lakes.
But there are simple steps you can take to stay alive on thelake this year.
It happens every year - people out for a good time on the lakefind themselves caught in deep water, clinging to life.
Lastyear 38 people died in boating accidents in Texas. During thesummer of 2009, two men tried to swim across Lady Bird Lake.
One man made it. Another did not.
And on Lake Travis, popular spots like Hippie Hollow, WindyPoint, and Emerald Pointe become the sites of drowning deaths yearafter year.
But there are things you can do to keep yourself safe on thewater.
First, slow down.
"If you veer off course with your boat going 30 - 40 mph you canaffect another boat that's going the same speed, and that's whencollisions happen," said Sgt. Len Snyder of the Lower ColoradoRiver Authority police.
When it comes to alcohol, year after year we learn boatingand drinking are a deadly combination.
Operate a boat with a blood alcohol level over .08 and you'regoing to jail.
Another survival tip...know where you are. If you're in anaccident, giving your exact location to rescuers means they can getto you more quickly.
"It's very common for us to get just an approximation, we'renear Lakeway or Lago Vista," Snyder said. "But that is miles ofshoreline that we have to deal with."
Note where you put your boat in the water.
Keep a lake map on board.
Pay attention to milemarkers like these.
And consider investing in a GPS unit.
And be very careful if you boat at night..
Abide by the recommended speed of 20 miles per hour.
Make sure you have the proper lighting, and use radartechnology.
"It's important to not just get into a mode thinking," Snydersaid. "We'll I don't see anything on my radar, so there must not beanything there."
Don't assume you can judge the water's depth.
And one of the smartest things you can do, wear a lifejacket.
A father taking his kids on a canoe trip two summers ago islikely alive because of his life vest.
His boat capsized, and he found himself stuck in a current undera dam. His jacket kept his head above water.
"He's got his life preserver, and he's got a cushion like thingthat's keeping him afloat," one of his kids told the 9-1-1operator.
That gave rescuers time to get to get to the scene and rescuehim.
A happy ending to what could have been another deadly day on thewater.
Take the following precautions when you jump on that boat thissummer:
- Know where you are – carry a lake map with you, pay attention to where you put your boat in the water, watch for lake mile markers which are posted every mile (evens in red and odds in green), and consider investing in a GPS unit.
- Be very careful if you boat at night – abide by the recommended speed of 20 mph, always make sure you have the proper lighting on your boat, use radar technology
- Wear a personal floatation device and make sure all of the ones on the boat are easy to get to
- Don’t drink – many boat accidents are alcohol related. Remember driving a boat with a BAC over .08 is illegal.
- Slow down – it’s hard for other boats to judge your speed. Driving a boat isn’t like driving a car.
- Don’t cliff dive – no matter how deep the water is, there’s no way to know what debris could be lurking just a few feet below the surface.
Late Saturday night into early Sunday morning, a light band of freezing drizzle traversed the I-35 corridor eastward. With sub-freezing temperatures, even the light precipitation created major problems.
A 10-year-old was killed while standing outside a vehicle after the child's family was involved in a fender bender, DPS said.
Austin Police are looking for a missing woman.
APD is responding to a 25 vehicle accident near the 5400 block of Ed Bluestein near Thurgood Ave.
A man is dead after being hit by several vehicles in the eastbound lane of Highway 71 Saturday night.
A representative at the Fayette County Sheriff's office said that Fayette County is effectively shut down due to icy conditions.