LDWF enforces boating safety for Contraband Days

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is reminding all boaters to remember safety during the Contraband Days events along the Lake Charles Civic Center seawall this weekend.

Wildlife and Fisheries will be flooding Calcasieu River with agents prepared to make safety boat checks. Agents from all over the parishes of Allen, Acadia, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, Evangeline, and Jeff Davis Parishes will be assisting with safety checks near the Lake Charles lakefront.

Wildlife officials encounter several problems with boating and alcohol on the lakefront every year during Contraband Days.

"That has been a problem in the past," said Capt. Jubal Marceaux with LDWF. "People think a boat is just a free ticket to go out and just drink alcohol and that there are no consequences."

Marceaux wants to remind everyone that the penalties for drinking while operating a boat are the same for when you drink and drive a vehicle. Wildlife and Fisheries brought in their special DWI van to use when needed.

"If we suspect someone that's impaired, we will escort them to the van for a breath test," said Marceaux. "From that point if they're above the legal limit, then they will be put in to a holding cell on the van until we can transport them to the parish jail."

The agents will also be monitoring all activity on the water near the seawall.

"Depending on what events will be occurring it could get crowded around the seawall," said Marceaux.

Wildlife agents are also reminding boaters to remember life jackets for passengers under the age of 16 in boats less than 26 feet in length. The agents will be checking the age of boaters and making sure they took the required boating course if born after January 1, 1984.

The Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office and the Coast Guard will also be assisting with extra patrols on the water this weekend.