LEWISVILLE (CBSDFW.COM) – The extended Fourth of July weekend turned tragic Monday evening in Denton County. Officials have confirmed that one person drowned at Lake Ray Roberts. He was identified on Tuesday morning as 31-year-old Jose Garcia-Martinez of Fort Worth. The man’s body was found near Johnson State Park.
But accidents like that can be prevented. North Texas game wardens are stressing boater safety on Tuesday.
Holiday weekends are perfect reminders for boaters — and anyone else enjoying time by the water — to be careful and take the proper steps to stay safe. Everyone should always wear a secured life vest while boating, and all vessels should have a working, non-expired fire extinguisher on board.
Life jackets are actually mandated by law. “They are required to have life jackets for everybody that fit, so an adult has to have an adult life jacket. Life jackets for everyone on board,” explained game warden Jordan Favreau. Anybody under the age of 13 must be wearing their life jacket at all times.
Life vests should be snug around the torso and should not come past the bottom of the ears when lifted up. “When everybody steps on the boat, I have a big life jacket bag under the seat,” said boater Keith Thomas. “We tell them where they are and fill them in on what they need to know, especially if you are taking out people who haven’t boated before.”
Officials have not said if Garcia-Martinez was wearing a life vest when he drowned.
Game wardens will also have more patrols on the water for the holiday, to make sure that boaters are following all safety rules. One thing that they will be cracking down on is alcohol use. “Alcohol is allowed on the boat,” said Favreau. “The driver cannot be intoxicated, so same laws that apply for driving while intoxicated apply to the boating.”
“I would caution people,” Favreau continued, “driver don’t drink at all.”
Following these basic rules will make sure that you and your family have a fun and safe Fourth of July on the water.