Boating season kicks off on Memorial Day for LDWF, agency offers boat safety tips

LDWF(Source: Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries)
Published: May. 28, 2023 at 4:22 PM CDT|Updated: May. 28, 2023 at 6:16 PM CDT
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement division ended its ‘Safe Boating Week’ Friday, but safe boating tips didn’t stop there.

Sergeant John Hattaway with the LDWF enforcement division says boating season kicks off on Memorial Day for the agency. Before boat operators take their boats out on the busy waters, Hattaway says operators should double-check for required equipment.

“You want to have a PFD for everyone on board of the vessel. You want to make sure your running lights work if you’re going to be out after dark,” Hattaway stated. “You always want to remember that anyone under the age of 17 must be wearing a life jacket while the boat is underway.”

According to the Handbook of Louisiana Boating Laws and Responsibilities, boater education is required by law for Louisiana boaters. Hattaway says it’s smart to have a second certified boat operator on board outside of the primary operator.

“If you enjoy beverages on the water, make sure you have a second driver or a designated driver,” says Hattaway. “And make sure they know how to operate the boat safely. And also be on the lookout for other boats, as there has been a lot of boat traffic out on the water.”

It’s also important to help keep the community around you safe when operating on the water. Hattaway advises anyone not to cause a disturbance if anyone spots suspicious activities on the water. Instead, he says to contact the agency’s tip line.

“If you see a violation or somebody driving recklessly, it can always be helpful to us to take a video of it - that way, we can respond and put forth the correct patrol efforts to see if we can correct the incident,” says Hattaway.

You can report violations to the LDWF enforcement division by calling their 24-hour line at 1-800-442-2511 or texting “LADWF” and your tip to 847411 using their tip411 program. A free handbook regarding Louisiana boating laws is available online.