When summer hits Texas, the heat comes out full blast. Often nothing sounds better than spending a weekend afternoon boating on the lakes. However, as boaters prepare to set sail, they should beware of Texas law enforcement who will be on the lookout for drunk driving.

While it is legal in Texas to have alcohol on a boat, it is not legal for the driver to be intoxicated. Authorities at the local and state levels are collaborating this year to catch drunk drivers and drunk boaters around the Highland Lakes.

As summer nears, members of the newly formed Highland Lakes BWI/DWI Task Force will be on the lookout for drunk drivers both on and around the lakes. Authorities say the vast majority of people boating on the lakes will have alcohol on board, but spotting a drunk driver can be difficult. Officers will be looking out for boat operators who have difficulty standing up, are slurring their speech and smell like alcohol.

Texas authorities take drunk driving and drunk boating very seriously. One park ranger said pulling over 100 boats in a weekend is not uncommon. Not only can being arrested for BWI or DWI ruin your day of fun on the lake, it can also come with serious penalties. You could lose your license or be charged with expensive fines.

Texas summers are hot and sunny, and many people will be heading for the water on the weekends. If you plan to take your own boat out or ride on someone else's boat, having a designated driver may be a good idea to keep everyone safe and to avoid legal penalties.

Source: KXAN, "Drunk boating crackdown on area lakes," Erin Cargile, 15 April 2011