Viewpoint: May 23, 2012

Louisiana is home to a variety of water resources, from the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico and every lake, bayou and canal in between. We proudly boast the title "Sportsman's Paradise."

And, as the temperature rises, more boaters will take to the waterways. Sadly, that often means more accidents. Our WAFB family knows all too well the tragedy that can be suffered because of poor boating practices, as two years ago, one of our employees lost a son in a boating accident.

Louisiana boating laws are enforced by the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and the Coast Guard. They can board vessels at any time and check for things like proper registration, working fire extinguishers and a personal flotation device for every person on board.

Agents will also crack down on operators under the influence of drugs or alcohol and the penalties are the same whether you are driving a boat or a car, with a fine of up to $1,000, six months in prison, or both.

Having fun on the water is a big part of our Louisiana culture. This summer, let's keep our paradise safe for ourselves and everyone around us.