BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of summer, but before you hit Louisiana's waterways the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has a few reminders for you.
Saturday's boat traffic on the Diversion Canal in Maurepas was somewhat calm, but Sergeant Randy Lanoux with the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries say he and other agents will be ready when this and other waterways get busier.
"Expect to be stopped and checked by agents. We're out in full force this weekend...throughout the weekend and we'll be out in full force throughout the summer," said Lanoux.
Lanoux says besides conducting random safety checks to make sure boaters have enough life vests for all of their passengers and other safety equipment, he says they'll be making sure the person behind the wheel is not drinking.
"The motion of the water, the sun, the vibrations of the motor...it enhances the effects of alcohol. So we strongly recommend to folks, if you are drinking and consuming alcohol please have a designated driver," said Lanoux. "It's real easy. Just get somebody to drive. We have zero tolerance."
Some boaters say seeing Wildlife and Fisheries and other law enforcement is comforting---especially when traffic starts getting heavy.
"We've had a lot of accidents down here over the past several years, and a lot of it has to do with drinking while on the water. Others is people got too much boat than they know how to handle. So they definitely need to be reminded to stay safe," said Bill Ray, a boater.
Although they're enjoying the water and the sun themselves, several boaters say they're having fun but being safe and smart, and they ask that other boaters to do the same this summer.
"Be conscientious on where the other boats are, and also watching out of the kids...especially when people are pulling skiers and tubes and stuff," said boater Anthony Delatte.
"Just have fun, but make sure you're going by the law with the life jackets and everybody's safe," said Angelina Gates.
Lanoux says all boaters under the age of 29 are required to take a boating safety class, but they encourage everyone to take them. He says they department offers the classes for free.
Sgt. Lanoux says all boaters under 29 years old are required to take a boating safety class but they do encourage everyone to take them. He says the department offers the classes for free. Click here for information on the classes.