LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is reminding boaters about the importance of safety as the spring and summer season approaches.
This reminder comes as the total of Louisiana boating fatalities in 2021 rose this week to seven where as in March of 2020 there were only two recreational boating fatalities.
We haven’t even gotten into the prime boating season in Louisiana yet and we are seeing fatalities climb at an alarming pace,” said Col. Chad Hebert, the head of the LDWF Enforcement Division. “We are urging boaters to please adhere to all safe boating laws and practices.”On Feb. 28 a person fell off of a personal watercraft without wearing a personal flotation device (PFD) and drowned in Vermilion Parish. Then on March 6, a boat with five people on board struck a railroad bridge in Lake Pontchartrain, near New Orleans, that resulted in one fatality and four people being treated for serious injuries at an area hospital.”
Here are some quick reminders about boating safety from the LDWF:
There must be a life jacket for everyone onboard any boat.
Anyone 16 years old and younger must wear a life jacket while on a boat under 26 feet in length.
Everyone on a boat under 16 feet in length that is propelled by a hand tiller motor must wear a life jacket.
Anyone riding a personal watercraft must wear a lifejacket.
The operator of the boat must be sober.
Operating or driving on a boat in Louisiana while intoxicated as the same penalties as operating a vehicle.
A DWI on the water can be issued to anyone operating a moving boat while impaired.
It is mandatory for anyone born after Jan. 1, 1984, to take this course in order to operate a motorboat over 10 horsepower.
To register for the course, visit https://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/page/boater-education.