Release Date: 05/14/2008

The week of May 17-23, 2008 has been proclaimed Safe Boating Week in Louisiana by Governor Bobby Jindal.  The week kicks off the summer boating season and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) reminds all boaters to be safe, responsible and knowledgeable while on the water.

"In 2007, 30 recreational boaters lost their lives in Louisiana," said LDWF Secretary Robert Barham. "National boating data indicates that nearly 80 percent of all boating accident fatalities could have been prevented if the victims had been wearing a life jacket."

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.  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 again 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, please contact LDWF Enforcement Division Sgt. Rachel M. Zechenelly at rzechenelly@wlf.louisiana.gov or 225-765-2984.