Coast Guard patrols Lake Texoma

HOUSTON— Memorial Day weekend is the traditional beginning of the summer boating season for millions of Americans nationwide. To ensure recreational boating safety, U.S. Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston will have an active duty boat crew patrolling Lake Texoma this weekend, in conjunction with the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. This is the third consecutive year this operation has occurred. The U.S. Coast Guard will also work with state and local law enforcement agencies to ensure all recreational boaters operate in a safe manner and have the appropriate safety gear.

In a separate initiative, the U.S. Coast Guard has developed a regulatory compliance implementation plan for Lake Texoma’s commercial passenger vessels and operators. Following the investigation of a boating death on Lake Texoma earlier this year, it was discovered that some commercial vessels were not inspected as required by U.S. law.

Vessel operators not in compliance with federal regulations will be required to work with the Coast Guard by scheduling and undergoing voluntary examinations of their vessels and coming into full compliance no later than December 31, 2009. This plan will bring inspected vessels into compliance as soon as possible, but will not impede businesses for 2009 so long as their boat and operations are found not to be grossly substandard.

Owners and/or operators who are interested in receiving a courtesy inspection of their boats should contact the Sector Houston-Galveston Domestic Inspection Branch at (713) 671-5143. Operators of uninspected passenger vessels may also call the same number to learn more about obtaining the required federal license.

One of the overarching goals of the U.S. Coast Guard is safety of life. Through the remainder of 2009, the U.S. Coast Guard will continue to work to educate the boating public, and work in close coordination with all concerned parties in the Lake Texoma region – including the Congressional delegations, all waterway users, and local business owners – to enhance the safety of our citizens on the water while meeting federally mandated requirements.

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