STATE

LDWF promotes safe boating

Staff reports

The week of May 16-22, 2009 has been proclaimed Safe Boating Week in Louisiana by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission. 

The week kicks off the summer boating season and the LDWF reminds all boaters to be safe, responsible and knowledgeable while on the water.

Safe Boating Week is a time for all boaters to inspect their vessels to ensure that all required safety equipment is on board and that vessels are in good working condition. 

"Our (LDWF) boating incident statistics indicate that nearly 74 percent of boating fatalities were people who drown and were not wearing a personal flotation device also known as a life jacket and nearly 95 percent of operators involved in a fatal incident had never taken a boating education course," said LDWF Boating Safety Officer Lt. Rachel Zechenelly.  "Two of the most important boating safety tips we can offer to Louisiana boaters are to wear a life jacket and take a boating education class."

Vessel operators are advised to review Louisiana boating laws and anyone born after Jan. 1, 1988, is reminded to complete a Boating Education course before operating a vessel with a 10 horsepower or greater motor.  Additionally, Louisiana law requires anyone operating a personal watercraft (Jetski, Seadoo, etc.) to be at least 16 years of age and to have completed a Boating Education course.

LDWF Enforcement Division agents will be on the water this summer to verify boater compliance with all boating regulations and to help make recreational boating in Louisiana a safe and enjoyable outdoor activity.

For more information on state boating laws or Boating Education courses, go to LDWF's Web site at www.wlf.louisiana.gov.

For more information, contact LDWF Enforcement Division Lt. Rachel M. Zechenelly at rzechenelly@wlf.la.gov or 225-765-2984.