The Montgomery County Precinct 1 Marine Safety Check Program was initiated in 2017 and targets our busy holiday weekends. The purpose of this program is to conduct volunteer compliance checks on watercraft before they launch on Lake Conroe. This is part of our water safety education program to ensure the water craft are in compliance with state marine laws. Texas law requires the following: Size appropriate Life Jackets for all personnel on the boat. A class IV throw able floatation device or ring buoy. Sound producing device (horn or whistle). A charged and ready fire extinguisher. A current watercraft Texas Parks and Wildlife registration card.
The Deputies conducting the checks have been provided training from Texas parks and Wildlife as Marine Safety Enforcement Officers. The checks are conducted at public boat ramps where the participants are provided with an informational pamphlet and the deputies can provide information about Lake Conroe. This program is totally voluntary and has been well received by the boating public and the businesses on the Lake. During 2017, 595 volunteer safety checks were conducted. Of these we found the following safety issues. 19 had nonoperational fire extinguishers. 25 missing throw able on board. 23 were lacking appropriate life jackets. 17 had no horn or whistle. 32 were missing Registrations cards.
2018 to date, 735 volunteer safety checks were conducted. These safety issues were discovered. 13 nonoperational fire extinguishers. 31 missing throw able, 0 Life jacket issues. 26 had no sound producing device. 27 were missing registration cards.
The total number of land safety checks preformed for 2018 has increased from 2017 by approximately 24%. The results have shown to have had a positive results with a 16 % decrease in the potential violations of missing safety equipment. The goal of the Constables Office through this safety check initiative is to insure the boating public enjoys the recreations of Lake Conroe while doing so safely. Through the numbers we can see that the program has a measurable positive result. The programs educational outreach has produced fewer violation numbers while conducting the voluntary checks. Thus far in 2018 there was no life jacket violations during the land based voluntary checks. With these results the Constables Office will continue to serve the boating public by further public outreach of education and voluntary safety checks. The mission is and will continue to be public safety.