State officials urging safety on the water

Posted at 11:19 AM, May 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-18 12:19:45-04

Louisiana’s Safe Boating Week begins tomorrow, and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is reminding boaters to be safe and responsible on the water.

Safe Boating Week is a time for all boaters to inspect their vessels to ensure that all required safety equipment is on board and that vessels are in good working condition, officials say. 

LDWF Enforcement Division agents will be out in full force as always during the week to perform boating safety checks and driving or operating a vessel while intoxicated patrols.

Each vessel should have enough personal flotation devices (PFD) on board for all occupants and a sober operator.  LDWF regulations also state that anyone 16 years of age and younger must wear a PFD while underway in vessels less than 26 foot long, officials say.  For more boating and PFD regulations, click here.

A main focus is drinking. Alcohol use is one of the leading causes of boating crash incidents and fatalities on the water, and the penalties for DWI on the water are the same as on the road.  Anyone cited for a DWI on the water or on the road will lose his or her driver’s license and boating privileges for the specified time ordered by the judge in the case, officials say. 

LDWF also wants to remind anybody born after Jan. 1, 1984 that they are required to successfully complete a National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) boating education course to operate a motorboat over 10 horsepower.  LDWF offers these classes free of charge statewide.

For a list of courses, click here.

In 2017 Louisiana reported 19 boating fatalities.  So far in 2018 Louisiana has reported eight fatalities.