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Brooks Schuelke
Brooks Schuelke
Contributor •

Let’s Avoid Any More Boat Accidents On Lake Austin


My wife and kids went out on Lake Austin last Thursday with some family members. When I asked my wife how it went, she told me it was crowded. With Lake Travis being so low that it is almost unusable, there are too many boaters and too many big boats now using Lake Austin, making it dangerous.

Sadly, that was evidenced this weekend. A boat wreck occurred Saturday, near Mt. Bonnell, sending two young children and others to the hospital. Cody Painter, the driver of one of the boats, has been arrested for intoxication assault.

As traffic on the lake increases, boaters need to take action to protect themselves and others. At a minimum you should:

1. Avoid drinking and driving. This should go without saying, but a significant percentage of boating accidents involve alcohol.

2. Use your lights. Austin Lake Police have indicated that one of the biggest risks of danger is night time collisions.

3. Wear your life vest. I remember when I was a kid and my dad lived on Lake Austin. I couldn’t wait until I turned 14 so that I didn’t have to wear a life vest in the boat. That was a bad idea. The Centers for Disease Control has even devoted its 2009 Safe Boating Campaign to encourage everyone in boats to wear a life vest at all times.

4. Look out for others. As the lake crowds increase, make sure you are cognizant of other skiiers, tubers and wakeboarders. And always remember that as you follow, they could fall in an instant. On the other hand, when you voluntarily stop to get in and out of the water, make sure that you are doing so in as safe a place as possible.

If any of you have any more tips, please feel free to share them. Everyone that uses the lake has a responsibility to help keep it safe.


This wreck hits a little closer to home. I just received an email that the adult that was seriously injured was a parent of one of my son’s classmates, and the two other children are neighoborhood kids. One of the children is very seriously injured so please keep all involved in your thoughts.


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  1. ron walsh says:
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    A lot of people do not realize that 1 drink on land will have the same effect as 4 drinks on the water due to the wave motion, sun, wind, and fatigue. Also, boaters should take a boat safety class. These are typically offered by USCG Auxiliary and the US Power Squadrons. Finally, boaters should get a free vessel exam offered by the above agencies. There is no fine or fee and it is purely voluntary, However, the examiner will go over a checklist to make sure that you have the proper safety equipment on board. According to USCG statistics, there were over 600 boating fatalities nationwide in 2008. Finally, you should wear you life jacket at all times. Federal (USCG) law requires that all kids must be wearing one under the age of 13. Over 85% of the people that drowned last year were not wearing lifejackets. Have a safe and happy summer!

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    Thanks for the tips. You make a very good point about the effects of alcohol being multiplied on the water. And yet, it seems that no boater is ready for his or her trip to the lake without a cooler stocked with beer. In this particular wreck, the news is now reporting that the arrested boater had “a few beers” and had eaten some fruit soaked in alcohol.