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Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries talks about summer boating safety

Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries (LWF) talk about how people can safely enjoy the summer days on the water.

Certain safety precautions can be taken to avoid trouble while out on the water. LWF advises people before going out to plan a route as close to shore that can be safely navigated and one where emergency assistance can reach if needed. People should learn and practice safe boating procedures by taking a boater education course. It is also important to study marine charts and check the weather forecast before leaving.

While on the water, people should be aware of and avoid potential hazards. These hazards can include and are not limited to, weather, waves, shallows, stumps and debris, other boats, and passengers' medical conditions. People are advised to stay within protected coastlines, wear protective clothing, wear a life jacket that fits properly, follow navigation rules, do not overload the boat, maintain a safe speed, and never stand in or on a vessel that is underway.

Drinking while operating a boat can increase the likelihood that an accident occurs. Corporal John Miller, with Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries, said "We will have a lot of agents out working this weekend... Every agent we have is certified to handle DWI enforcement." Receiving a DWI on the water is equivalent to receiving one in a vehicle, which includes penalties, fines, and license suspensions.

The rules for jet skis differ from a boat. A person under the age of 16 cannot operate a jet ski. The kill switch must be attached to the driver to help prevent further damage in the event that the driver falls off. Also, all ridders must wear a life jacket. Jet skis must be put up at sunset, according to laws, even if it has lights.

A change in licensing for fishing has also been implemented.

For more information to prepare for the upcoming weekend, please visit Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries or call 318-343-4044.