A boat sinking on Lake Granbury was among numerous lake incidents in Texas where game wardens investigated calls over the Fourth of July holiday weekend. Fortunately there were no injuries in the chilling local incident.
A 20-foot long ski boat with six people on board took on a significant amount water because of a wake from another boat that was passing by, according to Brazos River Authority Information Officer Judi Pierce. Another boat that happened to be nearby was able pull alongside and take on those passengers, preventing what could have been a tragedy.
The 1998 ski boat, registered to a New Mexico resident who also has a house in Blue Water Shores, did sink and was scheduled to be recovered from the water on Tuesday (July 13), Pierce noted.
Pierce said that the wake from the passing boat swamped the ski boat and was not identified.
“It really can cause some severe damage,” Pierce told the HCN.
In a column provided to the HCN about the danger of wakes, provided by BRA Sgt. John Riley, who is in charge of the lake ranger operations at Lake Granbury, he wrote: “Slow down whenever passing within 50 feet of a small boat, the shoreline or a marina, even if there are no posted no-wake zones. Distances beyond that allow the wake’s waves to spread out and get rounder, disrupting other boats less and causing less erosion.”
In addition to issuing 1,474 citations and 1,797 warnings for various boating safety law violations, wardens arrested 42 individuals for Boating While Intoxicated (BWI) and filed eight other charges for Driving While Intoxicated (DWI). Additionally, another 33 people were arrested for various other charges.
Texas Game Wardens also dealt with two boating fatalities and seven open water fatalities on Texas waterways over the Independence Day weekend. The two boating-related fatalities occurred on Lake Lewisville. Open-water fatality locations included the Brazos River, Lake Amon G Carter, Lake Travis, North Bosque River, Joe Pool, the Gulf of Mexico (Matagorda Beach) and the Comal River.
“Texas Game Wardens conducted safety checks on more than 12,220 vessels statewide between Friday and Sunday over the Fourth of July weekend,” said Cody Jones, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s (TPWD) Assistant Commander for Marine Enforcement. “Our game wardens were present across Texas waterways doing their absolute best to help holiday waterway visitors have a responsible weekend, enabling many safe returns home and enjoyable holiday memories.”
Game wardens were also involved statewide with numerous other waterway assists and incidents.
In one incident in Bexar County, game wardens rescued a boat that was taking on water and transported the boaters to safety on Braunig Lake.
In another incident on Falcon Lake off the Rio Grande River, Game Wardens attempted to conduct a safety inspection on a white skeeter vessel. The vessel was taken to a boat ramp on suspicion of BWI after a brief pursuit. An inspection of the vessel revealed more than 200 pounds of illegal narcotics in the vessel’s storage compartments.
“The dedicated efforts of the game wardens while working these tragic events is second to none – and is never the easiest part of the job,” said Cody Jones, TPWD Assistant Commander for Marine Enforcement. “We keep the families who have suffered in our thoughts and prayers.”
In addition to the boating incidents over the Fourth of July weekend, Texas Game Wardens statewide juggled numerous other non-boating related incidents, including illicit drug movement, illicit drug possession and use, felony and parole violation arrests, response to shootings, domestic violence, illegal shooting of wildlife incidents, jeep rollovers, helping lost children locate parents, among others.