Guide boat sinks on Lake Texoma, four survive thanks to PFD’s

HOUSTON – The Coast Guard is investigating the sinking of a Coast Guard inspected passenger vessel near Washita Point on Lake Texoma Friday.

At approximately 10:00 a.m., a local fishing guide’s boat sank near Washita Point with four people aboard.

The four survivors entered the water and donned their Type 1 Coast Guard approved personal flotation devices, commonly called life jackets, that floated from the vessel.

The survivors floated on the lake tied together for approximately one and a half hours before successfully signaling a passing guide boat that stopped to rescue them and brought them to shore and notified the Oklahoma authorities.

According to Coast Guard investigators, the boat captain attributed their survival to the use of the Coast Guard approved Type 1 PFD’s since they were easy to use and maintained the survivors head above the water unlike the Type 3 PFD’s commonly found in use on the lake.

The guide also stated to investigators that even though there was an additional cost to come into compliance with the Coast Guard regulations, the vessel and qualification requirements he had to meet paid for themselves on this trip by saving their lives.

The Coast Guard’s primary goal is to ensure that the many commercial boats on Lake Texoma operate safely within the standards outlined in Titles 33 and 46 of the Code of Federal Regulations. Because many commercial enterprises operating on Lake Texoma do not currently meet these requirements, operators and companies are encouraged to register with the Coast Guard, take the necessary steps toward regulatory compliance and request a Coast Guard courtesy examination.

The voluntary examination is a “no blame, no penalty & no fault” examination that will assist the boat owner to better understand the federal regulations that are required for operation. Once the courtesy exam is complete, the Coast Guard inspector will issue a Coast Guard decal, a Certificate of Inspection or a boarding receipt, which will document the boat’s level of compliance. Commercial vessel owners are encouraged to schedule a voluntary uninspected passenger vessel examination by calling (832) 256-3257 or making a request via e-mail at HoustonDOM@uscg.mil

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