Boating safety tips from La. Dept. of Wildlife & Fisheries

Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - For many, a day on the river is a valued family tradition. To make sure those family gatherings begin and end on a good note, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries have increased patrols on the waterways to make sure boaters are safe.
One of the first rules is making sure no one is sitting on the nose.

"One little bump, one little wave, and that child or adult could fall over. And most people think they can swim but if they hit their head of the motor sucks them in, it could be very bad for them," said Sgt. Carl Armstrong with the Louisiana Dept. of Wildlife & Fisheries.

Sgt. Armstrong said every passenger must have access to a life jacket. Last year there were 24 boating-related deaths, 17 people died as a result of not wearing a flotation device.

"This year already, we've had 9 deaths out on the waterways, 7 of them were not wearing PFDs," he said.

Children that are under the age of 16 must have their life jacket on at all times when the boat is running.

While passengers are allowed to drink an alcoholic beverage, the boat captain can not.

"Wildlife and Fisheries have a zero tolerance for intoxicated drivers," said Armstrong.

Armstrong said other common issues they run into are people driving too fast or on the wrong side.

"There are no brakes on a boat. A boat, it doesn't stop on a dime like when you stop a vehicle," Armstrong said. "Always stay on the right side of the river, the right side is your side. Just like on a road."

Failure to follow these rules could result in a ticket but officers say as long as boaters and passengers are making safe waves, it should be a quiet boating season.

The first boating citation could result in a fine up ranging from $300-$1,000 and up to 6 months in jail. The second citation ranges from $750-$1,000 and up to 6 months in jail. The third citation is a $5,000 fine and 1-5 years in jail.