Navigational aids placed in Contraband Bayou

Navigational aids placed in Contraband Bayou

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Old stumps or debris can pose serious hazards in the water.

Several groups are joining forces to provide new markers in Contraband Bayou to help make it safer for boaters.

The water is lower than usual in Contraband Bayou, so it’s easy to see the many cypress stumps and knees in the water. When the water is higher, they lie below and pose a serious hazard to boats.

So, Darrell Walker, of Blue Star Marine, is part of a partnership installing markers to help navigate.

"There’s been a number of accidents. I don’t know how serious, but there’s been a lot of boat damage that’s occurred going in and out of bayous from boats actually going into the stumps. And so, we’re just preventing heartache and headaches for boaters,” said Walker.

Ben Garber, with Lake Charles Sail and Power Squadron, says many people find out about hidden stumps the hard way and the squadron wants to help.

“These are called private aids to navigation. Because this isn't a commercially navigable channel, the corps of engineers and the coast guard will not put markers in this bayou. So, private aids to navigation must be privately funded and put in to help boaters in our area navigate the bayou,” said Garber.

Lieutenant Ron Johnson with Calcasieu Sheriff’s Marine Division says the aids will especially help those not familiar with the bayou.

“This will give them a better idea of where the bank line is and prevent them from hitting stumps. It also helps them realize that the ‘no wake zone’ signs are attached to, with the ordinance to make them aware that this is a ‘no wake zone’, to prevent anyone from getting in an accident or any kind of injuries while they’re in our area,” said Johnson.

Johnson says when boats hit something, passengers can fall out or be ejected. He says the markers will help prevent that, thanks to a private public partnership. Besides Blue Star Marine and the Power Squadron, other partners include the Calcasieu Sheriff’s Marine Division, The Calcasieu Police Jury, the City of Lake Charles, and the SWLA Convention and Visitors Bureau.

For more information on the meaning of navigational markers check out this link.

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