Saturday, May 27, 2023

Memorial Day Weekend Personal Watercraft Ban on Lake Austin

The Austin Police Department (APD) Lake Patrol Unit will be enforcing the City Ordnance 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. This ban will go into effect beginning at sunset on Friday, May 26, 2023, and ending on Tuesday, May 30, 2023, at sunrise, as outlined in Ordinance 8-5-81. Non-motorized devices such as kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards can still be used along with watercraft designed for the conventional manner of sitting or standing in the vessel.

The annual ban on personal watercraft is necessary to ensure the safety of many people using the lake and parks over the Memorial Day Holiday Weekend. This ban only applies to Lake Austin.

Police will patrol Lake Austin this weekend and urge people using waterways to follow the Texas Water Safety Act and City of Austin boating laws and ordinances. 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.

     (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.