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Game Warden: 'Safety is our number one concern' this Memorial Day weekend

TYLER, Texas (KETK) - It's a story we do with the Texas Game Wardens every year as they want to remind you to be safe on the water. Memorial Day weekend is coming up and as always, they expect an increase in boaters. 

"Good afternoon, State Game Warden, we're doing a quick water safety check. Have y'all been fishing today?" Smith County Game Warden Brad Clark said to a couple on Lake Palestine. 

Charlie Stanley and his wife were about the only ones on the water Thursday afternoon due to high winds. Clark and his partner, Wood County Game Warden Kurt Kelley, went through a checklist with the Stanley's. The only warning they left them with, replace their fire extinguisher. 

They said they'll be looking for all safety equipment this Memorial Day weekend.

"We're looking for each personal floatation devices for each person on board, children under 13, making sure they're in a secure well-fitting life jacket and then a type four throw able device or throw cushion for any boats 16 feet or longer," said Smith County Captain Quint Balkcom.

Balkcom said this weekend, they'll be present at every water way in Texas to ensure the public's safety.

"This is how accidents happen in conditions like this," said Clark as the waves crashed against their boat.

"High wind, low visibility, nighttime operation and rain, inclement weather is not the time for a boater to be on the water," said Balkcom. "Not even the most experienced boater should risk it for a simple holiday weekend."

A major factor in many boating accidents is alcohol and they said they'll be cracking down on intoxicated drivers.

"Fortunately, we have made it through a number of holiday weekends with no accidents, which is an absolute blessing," he said. "I think these types of Public Service Announcements are absolutely a paramount in education for the public to be safe." 

If you'd like more information on the Texas Required Equipment Checklist, click here

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