Just last week a man was reported missing after going fishing on the Neches River in a flat-bottom boat. He was found alive and well three days later. It turned out to be a simple case of running out of gas. Coast Guard Petty Officer Mario Romero says anything can happen on the water and the story doesn't always end well. That's why the Coast Guard recommends leaving a float plan with someone you know.
"A float plan is basically an itenerary of where you're going to be, how long you're going to be out. It just lets somebody know what your plans are for the day. That way if something does happen and that float plan has been left with either a marina or a family friend, then we as the Coast Guard can access that float plan and find out where you're supposed to be at which helps cut down on the searching a lot."
Another suggestion is don't count on your cell phone. Romero says they're just not reliable out on the water. Instead, they ask boaters to carry a VHF Marine Band radio on board.
"We consistently monitor the VHF Marine band channel 16 at all times. So if anything happens, if they broadcast on channel 16 we will hear them."
Romero says all boats should be equipped with Coast Guard-approved life jackets. The Coast Guard also offers recreational boating safety courses.
Laurie Johnson. Houston Public Radio News.