If you are a Houston native or live somewhere nearby, you’ve probably either visited or heard of Lake Conroe. The popular boating destination has exploded in popularity in recent years. This is in large part due to its history. Before it was refilled with water in 1973, Lake Conroe was completely dry from a years-long drought. Now, Lake Conroe has a reputation as one of the most dangerous lakes in Texas. But why is Lake Conroe so dangerous, and how can accident victims recover compensation for their losses?
At Reich & Binstock, we have extensive experience handling personal injury cases involving boating accidents and boating-related deaths. If you were injured in a boating accident due to another person’s negligence, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. To schedule a free consultation with a skilled boat accident attorney, please call our office at 713-622-7271 today.
What Is the Most Dangerous Lake in Texas?
Lake Conroe is known as the deadliest lake in Texas. The east Texas lake is incredibly beautiful, with great real estate opportunities and recreational activities. However, in recent years, it has quickly become the deadliest lake in Texas. This is largely due to the massive influx of boaters, swimmers, and vacationers.
Where this lake once had only a few visitors in a day, we now see thousands of boaters on the water during weekends and holidays. This increased number of visitors coincides with the rising number of boating and drowning accidents.
Other Texas lakes that have a reputation for danger include the following.
- Lake Travis
- Cedar Creek Lake
- Joe Pool Lake
- Lake Livingston
- Canyon Lake
- Lake Lewisville
Where Is Lake Conroe?
The Texas Water Development Board states that Lake Conroe is located seven miles northwest of the city of Conroe. It sits on the west fork of the San Jacinto River. The lake spans across both Walker County and Montgomery County.
What Makes Lake Conroe So Dangerous?
Several factors that make Lake Conroe dangerous also make other Texas lakes dangerous. This is not to say that going to a lake is dangerous in and of itself. However, if a boater or swimmer acts negligently, the following factors can increase the risk of accidents and injuries.
Boating DUI Accidents
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is not restricted to motor vehicles on land. Boating accident DUIs are one of the most significant factors contributing to recreational boater deaths on Lake Conroe. In fact, most boating accidents and deaths on Lake Conroe involve the use of alcohol.
In Texas, it is illegal to operate any kind of boat while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This is the case for motorboats, kayaks, canoes, pontoon boats, bass boats, and even houseboats. It is not illegal for a passenger to be under the influence, but the operator must not be.
High Volume of Visitors
As we mentioned before, the sheer volume of visitors increases the risk of a boating accident. This is especially true on weekends, in the summer, and holidays like the 4th of July. On any given summer day, there may be upwards of 2,000 boats on the water. Even though this sounds like a small number for such a large lake, it is still a problem because of the high speeds some boats can reach.
With a large number of boats on the water at once, this makes accidents more likely to happen. If operators are negligent or under the influence while driving the boat, this can increase the likelihood even more.
Ignoring Safety Precautions
Safety precautions are in place on lakes in Texas for a reason. They exist to protect boaters and swimmers from preventable accidents. However, not every person on the lake will observe safety precautions properly. Many boat crashes and deaths could have been prevented if all safety precautions were followed.
Kill switches are another necessity for boats on the water. These devices serve to stop the boat if the driver is thrown overboard. Kill switches can save lives by preventing slowing boats to a stop and preventing accidents.
To operate a rental boat, visitors must prove that they hold a driver’s license, know how to operate the boat, and know how to locate safety equipment. Unfortunately, many renters lack these requirements. Without the right knowledge and skills, it can be dangerous to operate a boat. This is especially true on busy lakes.
Incidents of drowning are an obvious worry when lake visitors go out on the water. Drowning accidents that occur on lakes in Texas often involve boat wrecks, alcohol, a lack of safety equipment, or a combination of the three.
Although the most popular months to head out on the lake are in the summer months, many visitors still go out on the water in cooler months. Water temperatures at Lake Conroe fluctuate between 48°F and 86°F on average. Notably, any water that is cooler than 60°F can lead to hypothermia.
Hypothermia is an emergency that happens when the body loses heat at a faster rate than it can produce heat. The normal human body temperature is around 98.6°F. When the body’s temperature falls below 95°F, this is when hypothermia begins. If left untreated for too long, the body’s nervous system, heart, and other organs cannot function properly. It can ultimately lead to heart failure or respiratory failure, or even death.
Cold fronts can roll in twice as fast as warm fronts, making them more likely to catch swimmers off guard. If they have no life jacket or means to get help, their body may give in to hypothermia. This can then lead to a drowning accident.
Failing to Wear Life Jackets
Wearing life jackets seems like a no-brainer, but many people mistakenly believe they don’t need them. Even if people are good swimmers, wearing life jackets will reduce their chances of drowning. Unfortunately, rental boats may be missing the appropriate number of life jackets when visitors take them out on the water.
Is It Safe to Swim in Lake Conroe?
Generally, yes. As long as visitors and boat operators follow all safety measures, visiting Lake Conroe can be a fun experience. Unfortunately, one cannot control the actions of other people, no matter how much they stress the need for safety precautions. If someone acts negligently while boating or swimming, this may lead to accidents and injuries.
What to Do If You Are Injured in a Boating Accident on Lake Conroe
If you are injured in a boating accident on Lake Conroe, it is crucial to take certain steps. Your first priority should always be to seek medical care for yourself and others who need it. Check all parties for injuries, then call for medical help if anyone is hurt.
Next, call the local authorities to report the accident. At Lake Conroe, you should call the Lake Division. This will ensure that help arrives promptly, as well as generate a police report for a potential injury claim.
Collect contact information from those involved in the accident and vessel identification for all boats involved. You should also ask for the insurance information of each boat operator involved. If there are any witnesses, you should also collect their information. If possible, take photos of the accident and any visible damage.
Lastly, we strongly recommend contacting an attorney about the accident. If you or someone you love was injured, an attorney can help you file an injury claim and seek compensation. Insurance companies are difficult to handle without legal representation, so an attorney can help greatly in this regard.
Lake Conroe Wrongful Deaths
According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), 26 drowning or boating-related deaths occurred at Lake Conroe between 2010 and 2020. Since that report, many other boating accidents and near-drownings have occurred. Experts believe the gradual increase in accidents is due to increased overall activity on the lake.
Do I Need an Attorney for a Boating Accident Claim?
Nobody is required to hire an attorney for boating accidents, but it certainly helps. After an accident that results in damages or injuries, parties are likely to submit insurance claims. However, insurance companies exist to make a profit. They will likely offer you a lowball settlement if anything at all.
Having an attorney on your side can not only protect you from saying something that could hurt your claim, but it can also help you take on the insurance company. Our attorneys know exactly how to negotiate with insurance companies, and we will help you fight for the compensation you deserve.
Contact the Houston Boating Accident Lawyers at Reich & Binstock Today
If you or someone you love has suffered injuries in a boating accident, the personal injury lawyers at Reich & Binstock are here for you. Our Houston boating accident lawyers are incredibly skilled when it comes to handling both insurance companies and injury lawsuits. To schedule a free consultation with a member of our team, please call our Houston law office at 713-622-7271 today.