Memorial Day weekend is right around the corner, and Texas law enforcement encourages taking a minute to make sure you are up-to-date on all boating laws to ensure your safety.

Authorities say almost all tragedies could be avoided if boaters would take one simple step — wear a life jacket.

Nationally, 84 percent of persons who drowned as a result of a boating mishap this past year were not wearing a life jacket, or personal flotation device, as they’re officially termed.

“Last year, we had 32 boating fatalities across the state,” Jeff Parrish, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s assistant chief for marine law enforcement, said in an agency news release. “As tragic as that number is, we can learn something from statistics.

“Of those 32 deaths, all but five were of people not wearing a personal flotation device.”

Texas law doesn’t mandate most boaters wear a PFD. Only persons on personal watercraft or those younger than 13 years old and in a boat less than 26 feet long that’s “underway” (not anchored, aground or tied to something) are required to wear one.

Texas law does require that boats on public water have at least one Coast Guard-approved PFD for every person on the boat and that those PFDs be “readily accessible.”

More From 101.5 KNUE