Boating Facts

March 2014

    • Mandatory boater education is required for anyone born on or after September 1, 1993 to operate a Personal Watercraft (PWC), sailboat over 14 feet, or motorboat with a motor greater than 15 hp.
    • There are more than 580,000 registered boats in Texas, ranking it 6th in the country.
    • Texas has more square miles of inland water than any other state.
    • Recreational boating safety is a primary area of responsibility of Texas game wardens. The most common water safety citations are issued are for:
      • Not having enough lifejackets on board the boat.
      • Children younger than 13 not wearing a life jacket.
    • All children younger than age 13 must wear a life jacket while in a boat less than 26 feet in length that is underway.
    • Game Wardens and Marine Safety Enforcement Officers enforce the Boating While Intoxicated (BWI) law.
    • A person who either appears to be impaired and/or has a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or higher while operating a boat can be arrested for BWI.
    • A person arrested for BWI may be jailed for up to 180 days, be fined as much as $2,000 or both. Additionally, the person's drivers' license may be automatically suspended.
    • Alcohol plays a role in 50 percent of all boating accidents, according to BOAT US.
    • Nearly 85% of boating fatality drowning victims were not wearing a life jacket.
    • A typical boating accident fatality involves: An open motorboat;Weekends between the hours of Noon and 7 p.m.;
    • The victim falling overboard; and
    • An operator between 26-50 years of age

      Texas Boating-Related Statistics

      Year
      (Calendar)
      #Registered
      Boats
      Boating Accidents Injuries Fatalities BWI

      2013

      582,478

      206

      85

      22

      209

      2012

      587,470

      156

      84

      26

      310

      2011

      590,704

      197

      119

      30

      259

      2010

      605,332

      171

      138

      29

      318

      2009

      594,698

      211

      138

      45

      222

      2008

      594,446

      278

      173

      62

      238

      2007

      593,446

      266

      181

      52

      190

      2006

      597,830

      261

      165

      47

      230

      2005

      619,150

      213

      100

      36

      284

      2004

      620,720

      212

      146

      36

      278

      2003

      624,186

      265

      175

      38

      194

      2002

      620,740

      251

      147

      61

      203

      2001

      630,688

      242

      191

      41

      224

      2000

      617,616

      257

      173

      55

      222

      1999

      614,211

      262

      186

      51

      157

      1998

      613,378

      252

      187

      53

      188

      1997

      606,178

      258

      222

      69

      167


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