Game wardens transitioning law enforcement from woods to water

SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - Lake season has officially started for smith county game wardens.

"Boating while intoxicated is extremely dangerous and deadly; it kills people every year," Smith County Game Warden Brad Clark says.

Clark says he's seen more than his fair share of tragedies while out on the water.

"We know that people are out here to recreate and have a good time, and we're out here trying to ensure that they're doing it safely, and that there's no tragedies when they are out here," Clark says.

Three game wardens patrol nearly 5,000 acres that make up the Lake Tyler area.

"The sheriff's office supplements our patrol with a boat and some men of their own so that helps out on holiday weekends, but most of the time we can handle the lakes with what we've got," Clark says.

Clark says most laws broken on the water are alcohol related.

And although there is no speed limit on the lake, game wardens watch for the same signs a highway patrolman would watch for.

"It is illegal to be under the influence while driving the boat; it's the same offense as driving while intoxicated," Clark says.

Clark makes safety checks daily, now that lake season has started, making sure there's a life jacket for every person on the boat, a fire extinguisher, a sound producing device, and a throw cushion for overboard emergencies.

Game warden Brad Clark says it's important to follow lake laws now that Memorial Day is coming up.