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Texas Dive Flags

Rules for TX divers and boaters

Thanks to Danny Bouska of the Diving Rebels Scuba Club for gathering this information for us.



For Divers in Texas

The following are excerpted from the Texas Statutes Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 31:

No swimmer or diver may come within 200 yards of a sight-seeing or excursion boat except for maintenance purposes or unless within an enclosed area.

To be entitled to the protections of this section, a scuba diver or snorkeler must prominently display a "diver down" flag from a buoy or vessel.

In this section, "'diver down' flag" means a square or rectangular red flag, at least 15 inches by 15 inches, that has a diagonal white stripe.



For Boaters in Texas

The Texas Parks and Wildlife's Digest of the Texas Water Safety Act, valid until Aug. 31, 2005, under Operation of Your Boat, states that it is unlawful to:

Operate within 50 feet of a "Diver Down Flag" or operate a boat within 150 feet of a "Diver Down Flag" except at Headway/Steerage Speed.

The Texas Statutes Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 31 includes these details:

31.099. CIRCULAR COURSE AROUND FISHERMAN OR SWIMMER.

(a) No person may operate a motorboat in a circular course around any other boat any occupant of which is engaged in fishing or around any person swimming.

31.1021. OPERATING VESSELS IN SCUBA DIVING OR SNORKELING AREAS.

a) No person may operate a vessel within 50 feet of a buoy or of another vessel displaying a "diver down" flag that marks an area in which a person is scuba diving or snorkeling.

(b) No person may operate a vessel at a speed greater than the minimum speed necessary to maintain steerageway and headway while the vessel is within 150 feet of a buoy or a vessel displaying a "diver down" flag that marks an area in which a person is scuba diving or snorkeling.

(c) To be entitled to the protections of this section, a scuba diver or snorkeler must prominently display a "diver down" flag from a buoy or vessel.

(d) This section does not apply:
(1) to a person who is operating a patrol or rescue craft; or
(2) in an emergency.

(e) Subsection (a) of this section does not apply:
(1) to a person who is already operating a vessel in an area when another person displays a "diver down" flag within 150 feet of that vessel;
(2) to a person who is operating a vessel in a waterway that is less than 300 feet wide; or
(3) to a person who has permission to enter the area from the person who placed the buoy or the person who is operating the vessel displaying the "diver down" flag.

(f) In this section, "'diver down' flag" means a square or rectangular red flag, at least 15 inches by 15 inches, that has a diagonal white stripe.



Happy Diving,
Chris
Chris Whitten
chris-(@)-interesting.com (remove the hyphens and parentheses)
Dive-Flag.com Webmaster

P.S. The information above was as complete and up-to-date at the time as I could make it. It should not be construed as providing legal advice. You should conduct your own legal research or contact an attorney.

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