For any who may not know, Memorial Day is a holiday that started after the Civil War. It is observed on the last Monday of May, honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. Military.
Memorial Day became an official federal holiday in 1971, but here in Texas, and most other civilized states it has always been a day to honor those courageous patriots.
Normally, Memorial Day is one of the biggest boating holidays in Texas, but this year I just don't know what to expect with the fuel cost being allowed to get so out of sight by our federal government! Let me see think — what was the purpose of the Alaskan pipeline?
We at Lake Conroe may be blanketed with boat congestion as usual and maybe not, we will see.
Undoubtedly some people here in Texas will still travel to our lakes, rivers and the Gulf Coast to get the sun and water all over them. To get the wind blowing through their hair, if they are so endowed, while skimming across the surface of the water enjoying that indescribable feeling of freedom.
We want our holiday water experiences to be all of the fun they can be, but potential danger is always around that environment so we must ever be prepared and keep in mind the fact that water can be an unforgiving mistress if we humans get a little sloppy with safety.
We have all heard the old and worn saying concerning automobiles that speed kills. It may be old and tired, but it hold true for aquatic sports just like those on dry land. If you hit a dam, bridge pylon, or another boat at forty miles per hour, it matters not the reason, something is going to break.
There are no seat belts or air bags in a boat and the occupants will surly end up thrown from the vehicle and at best probably stunned. If you are wearing an appropriate life jacket you will float with your face out of the water and that will at least stop you from drowning if you are incapacitated.
I would like to touch upon a couple other items that are simple but I feel the need to stress and that is concerning water skiers down in the water.
Every boater knows — or should know — that when a flag is seen flying from a boat that a water skier is down in the water. It also means for any other boats in the area to pass wide of the stopped boat and keep a sharp eye out for anyone in the water. When a person is in the water they are not easy to see. A bright orange life jacket helps, but usually all we see is a head sticking out of the water. When in doubt slow down and keep your eyes and attention focused on the area around the downed skier as there may be more than one.
If you happen to be pulling a skier you need someone watching the skier. Even if you have the approved rear view mirror it is still best for the driver of the boat to concentrate on driving the boat and the rest of the lake traffic and another person to watch the skier being towed. That is the safest course of action.
Personal Watercrafts, Jet skis, wave runners or whatever you wish to call them are a good deal of fun. Like a loaded firearm, they are completely harmless until a human being is added to the situation. Then you have a possible problem.
A great deal of the problems with PWC can be attributed directly to pure selfishness of some operators. They are going to run wide open throttles no matter how many other boaters are on the lake. They are going to have fun if it kills them, or someone else.
So when you see one of these irresponsible people the only thing a person can do is to try to stay out of the way. If they are too blatant then it is time to call the law and have the offender address by the officials for the safety of everyone on the lake.
Alcohol is one big problem that can cause major disruptions to our day in the sun and on the water. Every adult should know that alcohol affects your ability to react timely and accurately to situations. It can also cause dehydration to increase if you are out in the heat and hot sun and will not quench your thirst nor replenish the fluids required by your body. Add to those two points the high speed capabilities of our modern watercraft and you have a formula for disaster.
So friends there is nothing I would enjoy more than to have everyone take full advantage of all of the fun offered by our recreational waterways, but we all live in the real world where there are some thoughtless people. So be ever alert and responsible and protect yourself and your family.