News and Advice about Boating on Texas Lakes and the Gulf Coast

Enjoy Texas Boating Year-Round!

Texans who enjoy boating and water sports have an enormous variety of waterways to choose from including the Gulf of Mexico several major rivers, and our natural and man-made lakes. From the large Houston boat yards to a small family-oriented Lake Travis marina, there are thousands of places to launch and dock a boat. Cruising along our rivers, lake shores and coastline is a great way to enjoy our Texas scenery and wildlife.

With 367 miles of Texas shoreline on the Gulf Coast (not counting the tidal shoreline and estuaries which add another 3,359 miles), there is plenty of room for boating in offshore powerboats and coastal sailing craft. There are more than 300 navigable lakes in Texas, home to boating enthusiasts interested in fishing, water skiing, para-sailing, wake boarding -- or just cruising around in a runabout or pontoon boat. The amazing variety of scenic waterways, marina and boat rental facilities, and sunny weather year round makes Texas boating extremely enjoyable.

Boating on Texas Lakes and Rivers

Although Texas has suffered from a severe drought the past few years, the major lakes and rivers still have plenty of water for swimming, boating and other types of aquatic recreation. Central Texas boat owners can choose from among the wonderful Highland Lakes -- Lake Buchanan, Inks Lake, Lake LBJ, Lake Marble Falls, Lake Travis, Lake Austin and Lady Bird Lake – which were created by the Lower Colorado River Authority to control flooding and provide water and electric power to the surrounding communities. Many Austin-area boaters take advantage of the Lake Travis recreation opportunities afforded by the lake's deep water and 64 mile length.

We also have many Texas rivers suitable for boating, the largest of which are the Rio Grande, Red River, Brazos, Pecos, and Colorado River. These are all navigable year-round and ideal for Texas boating; many people take advantage of them for canoeing, kayaking, tubing and water skiing. These five rivers vary in length from 1250 miles (Rio Grande) to 862 miles (Colorado River), and they all eventually flow into the Gulf of Mexico.

Sailing and Powerboating on the Gulf Coast

For those who enjoy coastal cruising or ocean racing, Texas offers a long coastline with access to deep water in the Gulf of Mexico. Many people in the Texas boating community elect to trailer their boats; while other prefer to rent a boat slip at a local marina or yacht club. Large or small boats can be docked in the many marinas or boat yards running along the coast from Port Arthur to Houston, and to the west down the Intercoastal Waterway to Corpus Christi, Padre Island and Matamoros.

Texas Boating Laws

Texas boating and fishing regulations for inland waters are established by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD); coastal and offshore boating are governed by the U.S. Coast Guard. TPWD manages boat titling and registration in Texas, and also offers boater education and safety programs, and information about boating at out state parks. Parks and Wildlife maintains local offices throughout the State, to make boat and motor purchase and registration easy for all Texas boaters.


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