LAKE TRAVIS (KXAN) — Travis County officials addressed lake safety on Thursday, in an effort to educate the public on avoiding more tragedies on the water.

The Travis County Sheriff’s Office said 10 people drowned in Lake Travis in 2021, the highest number of deaths in more than a decade. According to TCSO, the second deadliest year was 2011, when eight people drowned on Lake Travis.

“Drowning on Lake Travis is a tragedy that’s preventable,” said Kristen Dark, the senior public information officer with TCSO. “All it takes is a life jacket. all it takes is a personal flotation device.”

Several law enforcement officials with Travis County shared information on boating laws, safety tips, trouble spots on the lake and other resources.

According to officials, lake patrol deputies were in recovery missions for nine weeks straight last year.

“Our dive team has never been on a recovery mission and had to dive and recover the body of someone who was wearing a life jacket,” Dark said.

Recent deaths on the water

This safety reminder comes after two swimmers drowned in eastern Travis County on April 16. The Travis County Sheriff’s Office and Austin-Travis County EMS said two people went missing after they jumped in the water near Little Webberville Park.

Both bodies were found in the area where they went missing, officials said.

According to a witness who was camping nearby, her group saw people struggling in the water from the riverbank beach and got on canoes to help.

ATCEMS gave tips on how to help someone in distress on the water:

  • Staying on land and reaching out to the person in the water with a branch or another similar long item.
  • Tossing a floatation device or rope to the person.
  • Get in a boat or other vessel that can safely get you where they are.

Officials said the current was strong in the area where the swimmers reportedly got into the water.