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Drain It or Ticket

New Aquatic Vessel Draining Regs Go Into Effect All Across Texas July 1

(Photo courtesy of TPWD) (Photo courtesy of TPWD)

By: Lynn Burkhead, OutdoorChannel.com

Fourth of July holiday week boaters, canoe enthusiasts, kayakers, sailboat aficionados and personal watercraft operators across the state of Texas might want to take note, if they want to avoid the possibility of paying a hefty ticket.

Starting Tuesday, July 1, new aquatic vessel draining regulations will go in effect all across the vast Lone Star State.

According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), beginning on that date, boaters will have to drain all water from their boat and on-board receptacles before leaving or approaching a body of freshwater anywhere in the state.

That's because of new regulations that the state agency says are designed to help combat the spread of zebra mussels and other invasive species in Texas waters.

According to an agency news release, "The new regulations apply to all types and sizes of boats, powered or not. It also applies to personal watercraft, sailboats, kayaks, canoes, or any other vessel used on public waters in Texas."

TPWD goes on to say, "The new regulations require the draining of livewells, bilges, motors, and any other receptacles or water-intake systems coming into contact with public waters."

The TPWD news release also indicates that "Live fish, including personally caught live bait, cannot be transported from the water body where the fish were caught in or aboard a vessel in water from the water body where the fish were caught. Personally caught live bait can be used in the water body where it was caught."

What about live bait? TPWD says "Anglers are allowed to transport and use commercially purchased live bait if they have a receipt that identifies the source of the bait. Any live bait purchased from a location on or adjacent to a public water body that is transported in water from that water body can only be used as bait on that same water body."

And fishing tournaments?

The agency indicates that "Anglers participating in a fishing tournament confined to one water body may transport live fish in water from that single water body to an identified off-site weigh-in location, but all water must be drained and properly disposed of before leaving that location. Anglers are required to possess documentation provided by tournament organizers that identify them as participants in the tournament."

Finally, the agency reports in its news release that "Movement from one access point to another on the same lake during the same day does not require draining, and there is an exception for governmental activities and emergencies. Marine sanitary systems are not covered by these regulations."

For more information on these new regulations, boaters are urged to call TPWD toll-free at 1-800-792-1112 or to visit the agency's website.

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