Austin Police Enforce Labor Day Weekend Ban on Personal Watercraft

The Austin Police Department (APD) Lake Patrol Unit will be rigorously enforcing a temporary city ordinance prohibiting the use and operation of personal watercraft, wet bikes, motorized surfboards, and similar devices on Lake Austin. This measure, designed to ensure safety during the Labor Day holiday weekend, goes into effect starting at sunset on Friday, September 1st, 2023, and concludes at sunrise on Tuesday, September 5th, 2023, in accordance with Ordinance 8-5-81.

During this period, Lake Austin visitors are prohibited from using motorized watercraft specifically designed to be operated by a person sitting, standing, or kneeling on the vessel. However, non-motorized devices such as kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards, as well as conventional watercraft designed for sitting or standing, are still permitted for use.

This annual ban on personal watercraft is vital for the safety of the numerous individuals who will be enjoying the lake and surrounding parks over the Labor Day holiday. It is important to note that this restriction exclusively pertains to Lake Austin.

In response to the enforcement of this ordinance, the police will be actively patrolling Lake Austin during the holiday weekend. Authorities strongly encourage all waterway users to adhere to the regulations outlined in the Texas Water Safety Act and the City of Austin boating laws and ordinances. In the interest of safety, boaters are reminded to practice responsible and safe boating habits and to promptly dial 9-1-1 in case of reckless boat operation or emergencies.

The Austin Parks and Recreation Department and the Austin Police Department want the public to enjoy the parks and lakes but urge people to make this a safe holiday.

     (A)     A person may not use or possess a jet ski, wet bike, motorized surfboard, or similar device on Lake Austin:
          (1)     from sunset on the Friday before Memorial Day until sunrise on the Tuesday after Memorial Day;
          (2)     from sunset on the Friday before Labor Day until sunrise on the Tuesday after Labor Day; or
          (3)     from sunset on July 3 until sunrise on July 5.
     (B)     A person operating a motorboat on Lake Austin shall stay on the right side of the lake, except when assisting a downed water skier.
     (C)     A person may not operate a watercraft on Lake Austin at a speed that is greater than reasonable and prudent under the existing circumstances.
Source:  1992 Code Section 14-2-1; Ord. 031009-11; Ord. 031211-11.