Lake Safety Important This Labor Day Holiday - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

9/5/04-East Texas

Lake Safety Important This Labor Day Holiday

Boaters from across the state will be hitting the waters this Labor Day weekend which unofficially marks the close of summer.

With more boaters out on area lakes, authorities are reminding everyone about the dangers of drinking and boating.

Chris Green works as a game warden in Smith County.  Patrolling Lake Tyler Sunday, he said the traffic wasn't heavy, but his job was still important.

"Usually after July 4th our area lakes kind of taper off some," Green said.  "It's the last hurrah, the last holiday weekend, kind of ends the summer for boating, we still work it just like any other weekend."

Green is one of a dozen or so game wardens that patrol area lakes.  They're a big reason arrests for drinking while operating a boat were on the rise this past year.

"We didn't saturate the lake with boats, we just worked different hours and we were able to increase our arrest on BWI violators."

In 2003, 231 people were arrested on BWI charges in Texas, that's up from 180 the previous year.

Going over the legal limit isn't as tough as you might think, in some cases it could mean just a couple of drinks.  While not every BWI inspection doesn't endd in an arrest for Green.

He said no matter the outcome it's all just part of the job.

"We're not out here to ruin anybody's fun we're out here to make it safe."

Chris Gibson, reporting
cgibson@kltv.com

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