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Aransas Pass Harbor and Safety Enforcement patrols the waters of the Coastal Bend

Posted at 10:52 AM, Jul 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-08 11:53:43-04

CORPUS CHRISITI, Texas — The Aransas Pass Harbor and Safety Enforcement Team is ready to spring into action in case of an emergency.

James Tuggle, who is out on the water every day, has seen it all.

“There’s just a lot of people out here who don’t have common sense,” he said.

In his spare time, Tuggle leads fishing trips through Coastal Charters out in Port Aransas, where people are out fishing.

“I’ve seen 5- to 6- year-olds out on the boat without any life preservers on,” he said.

This is what officers with Aransas Pass Harbor and Safety Enforcement said they’re looking out for while on patrol — they also keep an eye out for other emergencies out on the water.

Earlier this week near the Port Aransas Marina, the team helped rescue more than a dozen people from a sinking yacht.

“Once we determined it was not a search-and-rescue, it became a damage-control mission,” said one officer.

Harbor and Safety Enforcement officer Jack McCarty assisted during this mayday call.

Any other day, McCarty is patrolling from the mouth of jetties further inland, responding to urgent calls in fewer than 10 minutes.

“A lot of my job functions are handling civil (matters), (assisting) parks and wildlife (and) the Texas General Land Office with oil spills, illegal dumping of trash off of vessels,” he said

During the summertime, McCarty tells KRIS 6 News he mostly responds to medical calls for dehydration and heat exhaustion. He also commonly responds to reports of damage caused by other boats.

No tickets have been given out yet by the enforcement team.

“Obviously, if we stop someone and they have a felony or warrant for murder, yeah, you’re going to jail," he said. "Or boating law intoxication is a big thing we have out here."

McCarty said he focuses on educating those onboard about the laws of navigation, and what they should have on their vessel.

"If you’re already having a bad day," he said. "Me writing a ticket for something probably is not going to make your day any better or make the situation any better."