Friday, September 2, 2022

Labor Day Weekend Watercraft Ban on Lake Austin

Sep 02, 2022

The Austin Police Department Lake Patrol Unit will be enforcing the City Ordinance that prohibits the use and operation of personal watercraft, wet bikes, motorized surfboards, and similar devices (designed to be operated by a person sitting, standing, or kneeling on the vessel) on Lake Austin beginning at sunset on Friday, September 2nd, 2022, and ending on Tuesday, September 6th, 2022 at sunrise as outlined in Ordinance 8-5-81. Non-motorized devices such as kayaks, canoes and paddleboards can still be used along with water craft designed for the conventional manner of sitting or standing in the vessel.
 
The annual ban of personal watercraft is necessary to ensure the safety of the public that make use of the lake and parks over the Labor Day Holiday Weekend. This ban only applies to Lake Austin.
 
Police will be patrolling Lake Austin this weekend and urge people using waterways to follow the Texas Water Safety Act and City of Austin boating laws and ordinances. One of these laws that most boaters are not aware of is TWSA 31.123, which is the Required Response to Police Water Safety Vessel. The operator of a vessel underway, on sighting a rotating or flashing blue beacon light, shall reduce power immediately and bring the vessel to a no-wake speed and subsequent stop until the intention of the water safety vessel is understood.
 
We would also like to advise the public about the extension of the new no/slow-wake zone (in purple) on Lake Austin by the Pennybacker (360) Bridge.
 

 
Police urge all boaters to practice safe boating and to call 9-1-1 for all reckless operation of boats or emergencies.
 
The Austin Parks and Recreation Department and the Austin Police Department want the public to enjoy the parks and lakes but urge people to make this a safe holiday.
 
City Ordinance:  8-5-81 WATERCRAFT AND OTHER MOTORIZED CRAFT ON LAKE AUSTIN.
     (A)     A person may not use or possess a jet ski, wet bike, motorized surfboard, or similar device on Lake Austin:
          (1)     from sunset on the Friday before Memorial Day until sunrise on the Tuesday after Memorial Day;
          (2)     from sunset on the Friday before Labor Day until sunrise on the Tuesday after Labor Day; or
          (3)     from sunset on July 3 until sunrise on July 5.
     (B)     A person operating a motorboat on Lake Austin shall stay on the right side of the lake, except when assisting a downed water skier.
     (C)     A person may not operate a watercraft on Lake Austin at a speed that is greater than reasonable and prudent under the existing circumstances.
Source:  1992 Code Section 14-2-1; Ord. 031009-11; Ord. 031211-11.
 
Texas Water Safety Act: § 31.123
Required Response to Police Water Safety Vessel The operator of a vessel underway, on sighting a rotating or flashing blue beacon light, shall reduce power immediately and bring the vessel to a no-wake speed and subsequent stop until the intention of the water safety vessel is understood.

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