LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — More boats are expected to be on the water this Memorial Day weekend.
If you are going out on the water, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries wants you to be prepared.
LDWF wants everyone to stay safe on the water this weekend as they will be patrolling waterways. They’re encouraging people to get out on the water, but to also practice social distancing.
Sergeant Ryan Faul, Enforcement Sergeant with Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, said, “The department encourages people to get out on the waterways with people they’ve already been in contact with just to avoid groups where proper social distancing can’t occur. That would be like tying up to other vessels and gathering on sandbars or little beach areas.”
LDWF will be patrolling local waterways this Memorial Day weekend. They will be conducting boater safety inspections as well as DWI patrols.
”In 2019, there were 20 boating fatalities throughout the state. So far, year to date, we’ve had seven across the state,” explained Faul. “There are three important factors that limit the boating fatalities, and those are completing the boater safety education course, as well as everyone on board the vessel wearing a life jacket, and the third one is having a sober operator.”
DWI laws on the water are the same laws as on the highway with the exact same penalties.
Faul added, “Anyone 16 years old or younger is required to wear their life jacket while the vessel’s underway. Something else that kind of falls in that age group, jet skis, personal water craft. You have to be at least 16 years old in order to operate one of those.”
Another requirement for boaters is anyone born after January 1, 1984 is required to take the free safety boating course in order to operate a vessel in excess of 10 horsepower. For more information, visit LDWF’s website, https://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/.