Lake Activity Frequently Asked Questions

Looking for a fun, inexpensive way to keep cool this summer? Why not get out on one of the Brazos River Authority’s reservoirs: Possum Kingdom, Granbury and Limestone. But before you put your watercraft in the water, here are answers to a few frequently asked questions that will help keep your visit safe and fun.

What is considered excessive speed?

While no speed limit is set per se, you may not operate a watercraft at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent, keeping in mind hazards, weather conditions and traffic density. The speed should not be greater than will allow the driver to stop with a safe distance from other watercraft and obstacles. Areas on the reservoir that require lower speeds for safety reasons will be clearly marked.

Do I need boat lighting?

All vessels, including motorboats, canoes, kayaks, punts, rubber rafts, row boats or other vessels when not at dock must have and display at least one bright light, lantern or flashlight visible from sunset to sunrise around the horizon in all weather and during restricted visibility. However, Brazos River Authority regulations also prohibit lights on vessels from being used in any way that impairs the vision of another watercraft’s operator. It is unlawful to operate a personal watercraft from sunset to sunrise. For more information on boat lighting and other safety requirements, go here.

Can my 8 year old drive my boat?

A person younger than 13 may operate a watercraft only if accompanied by someone at least 18-years old, if on a boat powered by a motor of 10 horsepower or more, a personal watercraft or a windblown watercraft longer than 14 feet. Children 13 through 17 may operate such a watercraft if they have completed a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department-approved boater safety course or are accompanied by a person 18 or older. Boater education courses are periodically offered at Possum Kingdom and Granbury reservoirs.

Can I have an open container of alcohol in my boat?

It is not illegal to consume alcohol or have an open container when boating on a river or reservoir in Texas. However, lake rangers, game wardens, county sheriffs and their deputies, and local police can arrest persons for boating while intoxicated. The legal blood-alcohol limit to be charged with boating while intoxicated is .08 percent. Passengers who appear intoxicated to the point they may be a danger to others might be charged with public intoxication.

How close can a personal watercraft get to my dock?

Personal water craft must stay at least 50 feet away from any other vessel, person, stationary platform or other object, or shore, unless travelling at headway speed, which does not cause a wake or swell. BRA reservoirs employs the 50 foot rule for all vessels.

What is a no wake zone?

This is the area where boats and personal watercraft must operate at a slow headway speed that does not create a wake or swell. This zone includes areas within 100 feet of the shoreline or any boathouse, dock or other lakeshore facility, an occupied watercraft or area where people are swimming or diving.

Are boats restricted from parts of the reservoirs?

All watercraft are prohibited from operating within the restricted zones above and below each reservoir’s dam. These and other restricted parts of the reservoirs are clearly marked with buoys and/or signs. For an example of buoy markings, go here.

What do I do if I am involved in a watercraft accident on one of the reservoirs?

If you have an accident you should call 9-1-1. You should also report the accident to a lake ranger as soon as possible. Just like in an auto collision, you should not leave the area if your boat strikes another. Doing so could result in a “failure to stop and render aid” charge.

How can I contact a lake ranger?

Rangers can be contacted at each reservoir’s office. At Possum Kingdom, the phone number is (940) 779-2321, Granbury is (817) 573-3212 and Limestone is (903) 529-2141.

Are there limits on noise from watercraft on the reservoir?

Motor-powered watercraft shall not cause an unreasonable noise level that breaches the peace at the reservoirs. Any such watercraft operating on the reservoirs must have an exhaust water manifold or a factory-type muffler installed on the engine.

Do I need to wear a life jacket while on my boat?

Texas law requires that all boats have a U.S. Coast Guard - approved Type I, II, III, or V life jacket available for each person aboard. Children younger than 13 in motorboats shorter than 26 feet must wear life jackets while underway. Vessels 16 feet and longer, in addition to the personal floatation device for each person on board, must have one Type IV floatation devise, which must be readily accessible. Canoes and kayaks longer than 16 feet are exempt from the Type IV requirement. For personal watercraft, each person must wear a life jacket at all times.

In what other circumstances must life jackets be worn?

Under BRA regulations, all persons participating in water sports, including water skiing, tubing, wind sailing, wind surfing, aquaplaning, parasailing and similar activities are required to wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket.

Is swimming allowed anywhere on the reservoirs?

The BRA gladly welcomes swimmers to enjoy the reservoirs. Specially marked swimming areas have been established at the BRA’s lakeside parks, and are marked with buoys. However, swimming is prohibited within 100 feet of all public loading docks, boat ramps or fishing piers.

Is scuba diving allowed?

Scuba diving is allowed for the general public within 150 feet of a shoreline. Each diver must be accompanied by at least one other diver. A warning flag or sign indicating “diver down,” visible from 100 feet, must be placed on a buoy or boat in the immediate area. Diving is not allowed in areas where it will block or interfere with normal boat traffic.

What are the limits on jumping, diving and rappelling on BRA lands?

Diving and jumping into the reservoir from a height of 20 feet or more is not allowed. This includes from Hell’s Gate. Jumping and diving into the reservoir from a public highway, roadway bridge, railroad bridge or utility tower is prohibited. Rappelling is not allowed on any BRA property. For Brazos River Authority regulations, click here. For more details on safety requirements for operating boats and personal watercraft in Texas, click here.

If you have additional questions, please call the Brazos River Authority at (888) 922-6272.