Lake Conroe has had four boating-related deaths so far this year, the most out of any lake in Texas since 2000, according to a published report Sunday.

The Houston Chronicle reports that Texas Parks and Wildlife records show 22 people since 2000 have been killed on the 21,000-acre lake.

The numbers are up despite increased law enforcement and better boater education, officials said, but alcohol is blamed for many of the deaths.

The 22 fatalities are two more than Lake Livingston.  Records show Lake Travis northwest of Austin and Lake Lewisville in the Dallas area are next with 17 boating-related fatalities since 2000, followed by Lake Palestine in East Texas with 16.

In 2000, Texas recorded 53 fatalities among 257 boating accidents. Last year, 21 people were killed in 145 accidents.

Lt. Tim Cade, who heads the Montgomery County Precinct 1 Constable's Lake Division, says county commissioners have authorized another deputy position to patrol Lake Conroe.

Of the four deaths on the lake this year, three occurred in a single wreck July 1 when two boats collided. Authorities say that case remains under investigation but believe alcohol was not involved.

Records also show almost 85 percent of boating accident victims weren't wearing life jackets, meaning many of the deaths could have been prevented.

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