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What Every Texan Should Know About . . .

No. 7 Relaxing Like a Texan

How to float the river.

Illustration by Abi Daniel

One of the most popular ways to blow off steam (almost in the most literal sense) is floating a river, with, naturally, a cooler of beer. Before loading your booze boat, be sure to familiarize yourself with local regulations and then follow these rules of the river:

Pack It In, Pack It Out

Everyone knows our state’s anti-littering motto, which is not just words to live by: it could save you up to $500, the maximum first-offense fine for leaving trash on or in a river. Tubing outfitters often provide mesh bags for empties, but a trash bag poked with a few small holes will work in a pinch.

Know How to Handle your Booze

Many, but not all, local regulations permit alcoholic beverages, with some stipulations: (1) no glass, so leave behind the longnecks and that jar of martini olives, (2) no containers under five fluid ounces (read: Jell-O shots discouraged), and (3) no “volume drinking devices,” the formal term for beer bongs. But don’t forget the koozies.

Your Rock Is Your Anchor

Bring a rope and designate a responsible party to secure the cooler vessel by tying it to himself or herself. (Note that there can be no more than two tubes per person, and flotation devices must be less than five feet in diameter at the narrowest point.) This beer-ferry fairy should be able to navigate rapids while towing extra cargo, have a good arm for tossing, and most important, not Bogart the booze.

The Cooler

One of the biggest changes from the “good ol’ days”  is that no family-size ice chests are allowed. Each tuber may bring one 16-quart cooler, which in turn must have a locking mechanism, i.e., a latch or a zipper. And forget the Styrofoam. The law forbids all polystyrene carriers and containers.

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