By: David Sidney, Lake Conroe Division.
Thousands—if not hundreds of thousands—of people will visit Lake Conroe during the next few months. Whether for a summer vacation or weekend getaway, Montgomery County’s largest recreational lake provides many opportunities for fun. Being such a popular destination, boat traffic on Lake Conroe can seem as busy at Interstate 45 during rush hour. Take care this summer to be safe on the water.
With a few preparations ahead of time and a good check list, your family and friends will be able to enjoy Lake Conroe while keeping everyone safe and sound in the process.
Before making your way to the lake:
- Complete a Boaters Safety Course before operating any vessel
- Courses are offered by both the US Coast Guard and the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD).
- The all-volunteer staff of Flotilla 6-9, conducts the all-day TPWD “Boat-Texas” course at the Lake Conroe Dam throughout the spring and summer. This course is an excellent and convenient way for area residents to obtain basic boater education.
US Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 6-9
14336 Hwy. 105 West
Conroe, TX 77304
- Make sure to have all the proper safety equipment required onboard the vessel
- A full checklist is available through the TPWD’s website.
- Check the weather forecast and wind conditions for the day
- Remember to look ahead throughout the day as wind and weather conditions may vary drastically throughout the day.
- Know the “rules of the road”
- Just like driving a car on public roads, there are specific rules for navigation on public waterways. It is important to know which boat is supposed to “give way” and which is supposed to “stand on.” When these navigation rules are followed, it creates a much safer day on the water for everyone.
- Operate your vessel at a safe speed and be aware of your surroundings
- Operating your vessel or personal watercraft at a safe speed allows you time to make decisions when navigating on crowded waters.
- When underway always scan your surroundings for other boaters, and navigational hazards.
- Always practice defensive driving, remember just because you are a responsible boater does not mean everyone will be practicing the same safety habits, so be alert, and in any questionable situation, always yield the right of way.
- Make sure to operate your vessel at the minimum planning speed (the minimum speed at which a vessel will achieve and maintain a level plane) during the period from one hour-half after sunset to one half-hour before sunrise.
- Check your navigation lighting
- Even though you may only plan to be out during the day, circumstances may change causing you to navigate at night.
- File a float plan
- It is always a good idea to let someone know where you plan on going, how long you expect to be out, and when you expect to return.
- ALWAYS wear your LIFE Jacket!
- ALWAYS avoid consuming alcohol while operating your vessels.
- For more great tips visit https://www.safeboatingcouncil.org/
Keeping these recommendations in mind can help you and everyone around you have a great day on the water and get home safe!
For more information on Lake Conroe or the San Jacinto River Authority, please visit our website at www.sjra.net,contact our Lake Conroe Division at 936-588-1111, or check out our social media channels (Facebook @SanJacintoRiverAuthority and Twitter @SJRA_1937).
Public Boat Ramps on Lake Conroe
Featured in the July, 2019 Issue of Dock Line Magazine.