Throughout the state of Texas, there are laws that boaters must follow while operating their vessels. Many of these laws concern safety equipment. For example, no one can operate or allow someone to operate a certain type of boat if the proper safety solutions aren’t on board.

If a boater doesn’t obey the laws, game wardens or other officers who have the proper certification can take action. Depending on the situation, an officer could stop a boat to conduct a thorough inspection on the deck. This is done to make sure the owner has met the safety requirements to protect all passengers on board and other boaters in the surrounding area.

The required safety equipment varies based on the vessel type. However, all boaters must have some type of flotation device onboard along with a reliable fire extinguisher. There are different laws for personal watercraft, powerboats with gasoline engines or electric motors and sailboats.

For example, all powerboats, sailboats and manually propelled boats require at least one U.S. Coast Guard-approved wearable device (lifejacket) for each person on board. These devices must be easily accessible, in serviceable condition and of the correct size for the intended user. For most sailboats and powerboats, all passengers under 13 years of age must wear a personal floatation device while the vessel is underway.

When nautical matters occur offshore, there are ways to handle them. For example, a lawyer who practices maritime law can challenge shipping offenses. A maritime lawyer could also provide advice during situations that involve inspection procedures, license disputes, registration issues or insurance problems.