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Enforcement agencies join forces to urge boating safety this summer

Published: May. 12, 2022 at 7:23 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - It wouldn’t be summer for many if they didn’t get out on the water in a boat.

So, before it heats up any more, local, state, and federal enforcement officers want to make sure you know how to keep safe.

No one wants a tragedy on the water this summer and there are lots of things to keep in mind. Two of the most important are a sober operator and life jackets.

People in Southwest Louisiana love being on the water during the summer. So, the Calcasieu Sheriff’s Office, Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries and the U.S. Coast Guard are joining forces to urge everyone to make it a safe summer.

Sheriff Tony Mancuso said they urge everyone to take care of safety issues before they get out on the water:

“We want our citizens here in our region to be safe. We want them to wear their life jackets, we want them to wear their kill switches. And we want them to pay attention to each other. Don’t just drive your boat and think you own the waterway. Be courteous, be kind and pay attention to each other and we’ll have a safe boating season,” Mancuso said.

Corporal Mike Hebert with La. Wildlife and Fisheries said it’s key to have someone sober driving the boat:

“Not only because it’s illegal to operate that vessel on the waterways, the penalties and the consequences are the same on the waterway as they are on the roadway,” Hebert said.

Hebert said alcohol effects are also more pronounced on the water.

“Because you’re dehydrated, there’s wind, there’s the waves, and a lot of times you’re just sitting there in that sun. You get to that blood alcohol level a lot quicker on the waterways,” Hebert said.

The U.S. Coast Guard said in recent years boating accidents have risen twenty percent and deaths by 25 percent. They said seventy-five percent of the deaths are from drowning and in 86 percent of those cases the victims were not wearing a life jacket.

Hebert said when you’re out there doing your thing--make sure you’re doing the right thing.

Also the Coast Guard has a new program called I-911 to send help to those who have an emergency on the water. You call 911 and say you’re on the water and they’ll help pinpoint your location.

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