Lake patrols increased for holiday weekend - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Lake patrols increased for holiday weekend

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For the Lake Travis deputies, it's all about safety.

Alberto Luna, a deputy with the Travis County Sheriff's Department Lake Patrol, said, "If you have a collision that's close to the lake, there's a chance that's it's probably gonna be related to people who've been on the water, drinking."

The sheriff's department usually has two deputies assigned to four boats, but for holidays like the Forth of July, they increase their presence.

Luna said, "Our jurisdiction and APD's jurisdiction are close. We also have other resources like the LCRA and Parks and Wildlife."

They're outnumbered. A two-story party boat alone holds 50 people.

"Once they get off the water, it's hard for us, that are on the water to monitor them, so they'll get in their vehicles, if they don't have that designated driver, they'll start driving and get on the roads," added Luna.

So far this season, there have been two drownings.

Luna added, "The drinking is gonna be totally different because you're in direct sunlight. You're gonna dehydrate a lot quicker. By drinking that alcohol, it's not gonna hydrate you, it's gonna dehydrate you."

Because of the severe drought, all the public boat ramps have been closed, making it slightly easier for the officers to patrol the 44 miles of water.

According to the Lower Colorado River Authority, one public boat ramp is now open on Lake Travis and that's at Pace Bend, or Tournament Point.

Luna said, "The problem that we have out here are the boating while intoxicated and the jet ski's and stuff like that...before they know it, they're past their point of being intoxicated."

They're hoping for the best for the three day weekend...but prepared for the worst.

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