LDWF cracks down on intoxicated drivers on the water

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is increasing patrols statewide June 24th - 26th for Operation Dry Water.

LDWF agents in Lake Charles will be picking up intoxicated enforcement and boating safety on the Calcasieu River as part of the statewide initiative.

"We have brought in some overtime patrols, and some patrols from some other areas that normally wouldn't be here on the water," said Lt. Remy Broussard with LDWF.

Boat operators whose blood alcohol content exceeds the state limit of .08 percent are considered intoxicated while operating a vessel. The blood alcohol limit for individuals under the age of 21 is .02.

"The DWI laws are exactly on the water as they are on the highway," Broussard said. "And you suffer the same penalties."

In 2009, 24% of 32 fatalities in the state of Louisiana were alcohol related.

"Over the years its become more and more of a problem," Broussard said.

LDWF agents hope to bring those numbers down by raising awareness on the water.

Authorities are also checking for other boating safety equipment on this weekend's patrols.

Items the agents will be looking for include life jackets, fire extinguishers, and a floating device.

"Probably the most frequently forgotten thing is leaving life jackets at home," Broussard said.

According to statistics, half of the fatalities in 2009 could have been prevented if the individual had been wearing a life jacket.

LDWF will continue patrolling Calcasieu River with increased enforcement through the weekend.