Need for safety on the water extends well beyond Labor Day

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Updated: 9/04/2012 2:17 am

On the water, the most important rules to remember are the ones most often forgotten.

"We are watching for boaters driving recklessly on the water, not paying attention to what they should be," said Buffalo Springs Chief of Police, Stewart Naron.

Boater Candy Messenger said she had one boat come right between her and another boat.

"There are a lot of rules people don't know," Naron said.

Most boaters know, and for the most part follow, the basics: No glass containers, follow the speed limits and have a designated driver on each boat. But there is one rule that's routinely forgotten.

"Jet-skiers, for instance the they get on the water there is a 50-foot rule," Naron said. "Not allowed to be within 50 of anything in the water or the shore line when you are out in the water."

The 50-foot rule was created with the increase in personal watercraft. Somewhere, each weekend, failure to follow the rule leads to consequences, sometimes deadly ones. Sunday night it was near Miami.

"We understand that the victim, a 27-year-old, was riding his personal watercraft, when he collided with the boat, striking the front of it and, at that time, he was thrown into the water," said, Lt. Ignatius Carroll, from Miami Fire-Rescue. 

On any given day boaters and law enforcement agree, there is somebody who is not taking the rules seriously enough.

Messenger said, "We have run into quite a few out here who look like they have just bought the boat and come out here for the first time," Messenger said. "And they are not safe when they drive, they are not safe when they play with their toys."

"They are out here to have a good time," Naron said. "They are not thinking about the consequences, they are thinking about the good time, so we are trying to educate them on the consequences and show them that they can have a good time by obeying the rules."

Steve Carrillo, also visiting the lake for the day, said Buffalo Springs is his favorite lake because it is safe.

"Patrols really do a good job out here. They come out here and check on you and make sure you are following the rules," Carrillo said.

Chief Naron said it has been a safe summer at Buffalo Springs Lake, because boaters know the rules to float by.

For information on boating laws and safety regulations in Texas, click here.

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