Louisiana has lakes, streams, rivers and bayous within the state’s inland waterway system. In addition to these, there are territorial seas, tidal shorelines and coastal estuaries. Due to this, Louisiana hosts a variety of recreational and commercial activities. Boating activities not only provide enjoyment to the visitors and residents of the state but also affect the state’s economic growth.
Due to the natural resources of the state and its mild climate, boating has become a year round activity. Due to the vast number of boats on the waterways, monitoring and supervision becomes important to ensure that the laws related to boating activities are being followed. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Law Enforcement Division is responsible for providing public safety services in the state’s waterways, including education and enforcement of the criminal laws. The department’s responsibilities include improving people’s compliance with boating laws, investigating fatalities involving recreational boating and restricting boaters under the influence of alcohol or drugs from operating vessels.
Compliance with safety laws related to boating is important as many people die each year in boat accidents. According to sources, among states with a minimum of 100,000 registered boats, Louisiana has the highest fatality rates; the LDWF/LED is working hard to reduce the fatality rates in the state.
Though the laws mandate that the boater should be adequately trained and should not be under the influence of alcohol, some boaters do not follow these guidelines. These boaters can cause accidents, and the officials may not be in the vicinity at the time of the accident to prevent the mishaps. Hence, these laws also help the victims of boating accidents to claim damages from the wrongdoers.
Source: Louisiana.gov, “L.D.W.F. Boating Safety and Waterways Enforcement Five Year Strategic Plan 2010-2015,” Accessed on Oct. 21, 2014