Law enforcement prepares to patrol the lakes for Memorial Day

By Crystal Price - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA(KPLC) - Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Law Enforcement Services are gearing up to patrol area lakes during one of their busiest boating weekends of the year.

At least 40% of the registered boats in the state of Louisiana will be sailing through the lake area this weekend, and law enforcement officers are doing frequent boating safety checks to keep the boating traffic safe.

"We have officers come in on their days off and work and we bring in agents from other areas of the state to help out," said Lt. Remy Broussard of Wildlife and Fisheries Law Enforcement services.

Lt. Broussard said they plan to look for obvious violations which include checking boating registration, making sure floatation devices are on board, and that there are fire extinguishers in boats that require them.

Lieutenant Remy Broussard of Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries said there are some laws he sees broken far too often in smaller boats.

"There's a lot of people who aren't aware or who say they're not aware of the new law that's been in effect almost two years now," said Lt. Broussard. "This law requires all boats shorter than 16 feet to have the tiller handle attached to them while they are on the water."

Another rule that applies to boats shorter than 16 feet, is that all passengers on board must be wearing a life jacket at all times.

According to Wildlife and Fisheries there were 32 boating fatalities in the state of Louisiana last year, and 29 of those were not wearing a life jacket.

Lt. Broussard said if there is one piece of advice he can give those on the water, it is to always wear a flotation device.

"It's not going to do any good if it's locked in a latch somewhere," said Lt. Broussard. "It's not going to do any good if it's sitting on the floor or if you're sitting on it. When things happen they happen fast and you need to have it on."

Wildlife and Fisheries will be hosting a safety boating class Saturday, May 29th at 8:30 a.m. at the Louisiana Agriculture Center in Lake Charles.

They also wanted to warn boaters that the same laws on the road are also effective on the water as well.

For more information on the Louisiana "Rules of the Road for Vessels," click on the link to the right.

Copyright 2010 KPLC. All rights reserved.