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Learn about common Texas Boating Laws

There are many wonderful activities during the summer in Texas.  Whether it’s fishing, jet skiing or spending time in a boat with friends, Galvestonians often celebrate summer on the water.  Tylka Law Firm attorneys are local to Galveston, and often get questions related to Texas boating law.  This post goes over important ordinances, including alcohol, fishing and general boating practices.

Boating Education Requirements

In Texas, boating education is required for anyone born on or after September 1, 1993.  This is for the operation of Personal Watercraft (jet skis, etc), sailboat over 14 feet, or motorboat with a motor greater than 15 hp.

Boating education normally consists of a 6-hour classroom course with an exam at the end.  The applicant must receive an 80% or higher on the exam to pass.  Boaters 18 years of age or older are exempt from licensing requirements, however insurers often give discounts to those that take the class.

Alcohol and Boating

Alcohol and open containers are legal in your boat.  However, operation of a boat by anyone that has a blood-alcohol level of 0.08% or that appears impaired is illegal.  An arrest can lead to jail time of 180 days, a $2,000 fine, and a suspension of your driver’s license.  Because alcohol plays a role in 50% of all boating accidents, Texas takes this very seriously.

Fishing Licenses in Texas

You are required to have a fishing license to fish in Texas.  There are many kinds of fishing licenses. Licenses range from $3.00 and up, and depend on what and where you are fishing.  A fishing license can be purchased online (see the link in this section) or at most outdoor shops.  Be aware of some differences in cost for residents and non-residents.  Make sure your out-of-State friends purchase the right license before fishing locally.

Boating Accidents

You must report a boating accident to the Texas Park and Wildlife Department (TPWD) within 30 days if:

  • A death occurs (the report window is limited to 48 hours)
  • Medical attention beyond simple first aid is required
  • Property damage exceeds $2,000

If a boating accident occurs, we recommend you call your local law enforcement to report it immediately.  Additionally, you can call the TPWD police line at (512) 389-4848.  We recommend adding the TPWD line to your phone just in case.

Galveston, Texas Boating Attorney

Being local to Galveston, Tylka Law Firm attorneys see frequent boating mishaps.  If you need a boating or PWC lawyer, contact Tylka Law Firm today at (281) 557-1500.  We’ll always see that you are taken care of.


Tylka Law Firm represents clients in League City, Texas, and throughout surrounding areas, including Galveston, Houston, Jefferson County, Chambers County, Alvin, Angleton, Texas City, Baytown, Pearland, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Harris County and throughout the Texas Gulf Coast.

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