Texas Boating Fatalities Higher than Last Three Years

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Texas boating fatalities are the highest they've been since 2004, according to statistics released by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

Experts are blaming high numbers on poor boater education and heavy rainfall.

"People need to be even more courteous in boats than what they are in vehicles because of the lack of control of the boats," Game Warden Fred Churchill said.

From January to May 31 this year, there have been 23 boating fatalities compared to 20 in 2006 and only 13 in 2005.

"Education is very important as far as boat operation goes to know the limits of your boat and what to expect from it," Churchill said.

Operation licenses are required for boaters under 18. Education courses are offered, but not required in the state of Texas.

Boaters are encouraged to use safety precautions.

"Check the weather before you go out," Churchill said. "Make sure you have your safety equipment like life jackets and fire extinguishers. Make sure children under 13 are wearing their life jackets and if you're going to consume alcoholic beverages do it in moderation."