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LIVINGSTON PARISH, LA (WAFB) -
After a long, cold winter a lot
of people are ready to get out and enjoy Louisiana's many waterways. But with a
busy holiday weekend comes greater risk for accidents. That's why enforcement
agents with the Department of Wildlife & Fisheries are stepping up their
Sergeants Carl Armstrong and Guy
Adams spent Friday on the Diversion Canal conducting boating safety checks.
They ask boaters to show proper paperwork, a life jacket for everyone on board,
a fire extinguisher, and other
items depending on the size of the vessel. Most don't seem to mind the
"I don't drink and I don't think
it ought to be happening on the river, so I like to see you guys," one boater
told the agents.
"I like that they're out here doing
this. It's good, it keeps people safe. It keeps people in check," said another.
Armstrong said agents from LDFW's
strike force will assist with patrols over the Memorial Day weekend on the Diversion Canal,
Blind River, Amite River, Tickfaw River and Lake Maurepas. Most will work 12-hour shifts.
"The rivers consist of probably
four or five different bars, and a lot of people just bar hop basically on the
water," Adams said. "With the DWI (limit) being .08, it doesn't take much to be
over the legal limit."
The rules on the water are the
same as on the road, and so are the penalties.
Boating-related fatalities in
Louisiana hit an all-time low last year, with 13 people killed. But agents
stress that it just takes one drunk operator to ruin countless lives.
"We want people to have fun out
here, but we also want the people to go home," Armstrong said.
So far in 2014 there have been
three deaths in boating accidents on waterways state-wide, but none yet in the
WAFB viewing area.