Law enforcement agencies join forces to urge boating safety this summer

Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) – It wouldn’t be summer for many if they didn’t get out on the water in a boat.

So before it gets any hotter, local, state, and federal law enforcement officials want to make sure you know how to keep yourself safe.

Nobody wants a tragedy on the water this summer and there are a lot of things to keep in mind. Two of the most important are a sober operator and life jackets.

Southwest Louisiana residents love being on the water during the summer. So the Calcasieu Sheriff’s Office, Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries, and the U.S. Coast Guard are joining forces to urge everyone to have a safe summer.

Sheriff Tony Mancuso said they urge everyone to take care of safety issues before going out on the water:

“We want our citizens here in our region to be safe. We want them to wear their life jackets, we want them to wear their circuit breakers. And we want them to pay attention to each other. Don’t just drive your boat thinking you own the waterway. Be courteous, be kind and look out for each other and we will have a safe boating season,” Mancuso said.

Corporal Mike Hebert of La. Wildlife and Fisheries said having someone sober driving the boat was key:

“Not only is it illegal to operate this vessel on the waterways, the penalties and consequences are the same on the waterway as on the causeway,” Hebert said.

Hebert said the effects of alcohol are also more pronounced on water.

“Because you’re dehydrated, it’s windy, there’s waves and often you’re just sitting there in that sun. You hit that BAC much faster on the waterways,” Hebert said.

The US Coast Guard has said in recent years that boating accidents have increased by twenty percent and fatalities by 25 percent. They said that 75% of deaths are due to drowning and that in 86% of those cases the victims were not wearing a life jacket.

Hebert said when you’re doing your job, make sure you’re doing the right thing.

Additionally, the Coast Guard has a new program called I-911 to dispatch assistance to those with an emergency on the water. You call 911 and say you are on the water and they will help locate your location.

Copyright 2022 KPLC. All rights reserved.

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