APD lake patrols prepared for busy July 4th



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Posted on July 3, 2013 at 9:48 PM

Updated Thursday, Jul 4 at 8:21 AM

AUSTIN -- Austin police say the July 4th boat traffic is right up there with Memorial Day and Labor Day crowds, so they're bringing in extra help to keep people safe on the water.

"A lot of tubing. We'll go wake boarding occasionally," said Lake Austin boater Wyatt Smith.

This year, Smith and his friends are avoiding the lake on Independence Day.

"Might as well not deal with all the crowds. We can get our days in any day," he said.

"Especially on the holidays, it can get a little crowded," added boater Brad Tyler.

Tyler says even with the traffic, he's looking forward to spending the holiday on the water -- safely.

"There's always somebody on the boat not drinking, so we don't have to worry about anything," Tyler explained.

The entire Austin Police Lake Patrol unit will be on duty this Fourth of July, patrolling Lake Austin, Lady Bird Lake and Decker Lake.

"We are expecting a lot of people since Lake Travis is still pretty low," said Officer Joseph Desormeaux. "We've seen a lot more traffic out here due to that."

As usual, no personal watercraft are allowed. Officer Desormeaux says they can't take the risk.

"There will be so many boaters tomorrow," he explained. "It's not safe for the jet skis to be out here tomorrow with all the boat traffic."

"When it's crowded you have to be more hesitant," Smith said.

It's why Smith says, for him, the festivities on the Fourth are better spent on dry land.

"We might catch the fireworks but do it from land somehow," he laughed.

Over this year's Memorial Day weekend police arrested four people for boating while intoxicated. Just like driving while intoxicated, the legal limit is .08 and the penalties are similar.

Click here for rules and tips for a safe July 4th holiday.