All You Need To Know About Texas Boating

By Mary Wilson July 6, 2021

Boat Insurance

When you think of the “Lone Star State,” boating might not be top of mind. Instead, delicious Texas barbecues, carefree country music, blistering hot weather, and the famous Alamo are often the first things many people think of. While “everything is bigger in Texas” the boating life is even bigger and better than most people give this state credit for. With thousands of lakes and rivers and hundreds of miles of shoreline boarding the Gulf of Mexico, your trusted friends and experts here at the National Boat Owners Association are sharing all of the dos and don’ts of boating in Texas.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Boating in Texas

Do Wear a Lifejacket 

Wearing a USCG-approved life jacket is common practice and a basic boating safety tip. In Texas, it is law that children under 13 years of age wear one while spending time on any watercraft that measures 26 feet or less. Ensure that you have the proper amount of appropriately sized PFDs on board to equip every passenger on your vessel.

Do Carry Your Texas Boater Certification 

Registering your boat and keeping your Texas certificate number and other validation decals on your boat is of high importance. Be sure to always carry your photo ID in addition to your boater’s license and certification card.

Do Call for Help 

In the event you see an accident or are involved in one yourself while on the water, it is your responsibility to contact law enforcement or the Texas Parks and Wildlife no less than 30 days after the incident. If there is major damage to your watercraft or serious bodily injuries, file a report as soon as possible within 48 hours of the accident.

Do Get Boaters Insurance!

While Texas does not require you to obtain boat insurance to operate your watercraft, this does not mean you should go without protection or coverage. Similar to the benefits of car insurance and risks of the open road, accidents do happen on the water. Protect yourself from damage to your or someone else’s property, and ensure coverage in case of injuries.

Don’t Go Boating Without a License

Before you can set sail on Texas waters, a boating education is mandatory for any watercraft measuring over 14 feet or containing a motor with more than 15 horsepower. However, if you were born after September 1, 1993, you may be exempt from this rule. Anyone 13 years of age or older can legally operate a boat as long as they are accompanied by an adult, 18 years of age or older, who also have their Texas boating license. You can choose to take an approved classroom course or an online course in order to get certified and obtain your Texas boating license.

Don’t Drink and Drive

While open containers are allowed to be carried and enjoyed onboard, the same rules of the road apply to the rules of the Texas waters. Public intoxication laws and boating while intoxicated laws should never be bent in order to keep everyone on the water safe. Keep in mind, the most boating fatalities are often the result of drinking while operating a boat, as this doubles your risk of an accident.

Don’t Cruise Within 50 ft of Others

Following the 50 ft rule positions you at a safe distance away from other boats, watercrafts, swimmers, shorelines, docks, and objects while cruising at 10 MPH or over. Reckless behavior, like driving too close to others on the water will put yourself, passengers, and other boaters at risk.

Don’t Forget Safety Gear

If you plan to travel nine nautical miles or more off the coast of Texas it is imperative you secure a fire extinguisher, flares, or horn on board in case of emergencies.

Where to Go Boating on the Gulf Coast of Texas

The Texas shoreline along the Gulf Coast is home to over 350 miles of sandy beaches and beautiful open waters waiting to be explored. With a variety of spots to set sail, we wanted to highlight a few of the best places to go boating on the Texas Gulf Coast.
Corpus Christi is one of the best locations in Texas for water sports and wind sports, such as kiteboarding and windsurfing. It holds the record for the highest wind speeds recorded in North America.
Galveston Texas offers superb fishing, sailing, and dolphin watching right on the eastern edge of the state, just minutes from Houston.
Kemah is on the opposite side of Clear Lake and just steps away from the Kemah Boardwalk, which is home to approximately 400 boat slips, dozens of shops and restaurants, and constant entertainment.
Sea Ranch Marina provides two stunning boating locations with fantastic access to Laguna Madre Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. Sea Ranch I is merely six miles from the Mexican border and Sea Ranch II can be found at Southpoint in Port Isabel.
South Padre Island, located off the coast of Brownsville, is a beautiful area known for its impressive reefs and spectacular marine wildlife. Divers and sport fishers are sure to enjoy their time here.

Where to Go In-Land Boating in Texas

While there are nearly seven thousand rivers, lakes, and reservoirs located in the Lone Star State, not all of them are conducive to boating. No matter where you are in Texas, you are sure to find a breathtaking body of water where you can set sail and feel the wind rush through your hair.
●      Amistad Reservoir
●      Caddo Lake
●      Canyon Lake
●      Cedar Creek Reservoir
●      Eagle Mountain Lake
●      Guadalupe River
●      Inks Lake
●      Lady Bird Lake
●      Lake Austin
●      Lake Buchanan
●      Lake Conroe
●      Lake Fork
●      Lake Granbury
●      Lake Grapevine
●      Lake O’ the Pines
●      Lake Texoma
●      Lake Travis
●      Lake Whitney
●      Lewisville Lake
●      Possum Kingdom Lake
●      Sam Rayburn Reservoir
●      Texas Highlands Lakes
●      Toledo Bend Reservoir
Whether you own a boat or are looking to purchase a new watercraft, setting sail for adventures in the waters of Texas is unbeatable. Set up the best coverage and protection from the trusted professionals here at NBOA and get quality marine and boat insurance you can rely on.

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