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Boat safety a priority on Memorial Day weekend

Posted: 1:12 PM, May 26, 2018
Updated: 2018-05-26 14:12:15-04

While spending the day out on the water with friends and loved ones might seem like all fun and games this weekend, Louisiana Fish and Wildlife agents want to remind people of some tips to safe boating. 

"A DUI in a boat is the same as in a vehicle," says Fish and Wildlife agent Corporal Brandon Fontenot. "It carries the same fines, the same penalties. Memorial day weekend there’s going to be a lot of boats out on the water. You can expect to run into agents and we will be looking for intoxicated operators," Fontenot said.

Fish and Wildlife agents also say boaters need to be aware of when to slow down and be respectful of other boaters.

"The state ordinance for no wake zones is 300 feet from any public boat launch," says Corporal David Beaudreaux. "Whether or not it’s posted or not you have to remain at idle not to cause any wake or damage to people at the launch or other boats passing by," he said.

Bridges and train tracks are no idle zones. Meaning boats looking to drop anchor must do so at least 300 feet away from those structures.

Fish and Wildlife agents also encourage boat owners to go out and check their equipment before heading out onto the water. Most importantly, life jackets. Agents say if you’re 16 years-old or younger then you have to have to be wearing a life jacket at all times.

Additionally, anyone looking to operate a boat who was born after January 1, 1984 and is without a passenger who was not born before that date will need to take a certified boaters education course. The courses are offered once a month at Fish and Wildlife offices and are also available on its website:  http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/boating/courses