Boating

Agents Respond to Boating Crash Incident on Diversion Canal

Release Date: 08/29/2011

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents responded to a boating crash incident on Aug. 27 in the Amite River Diversion Canal area of Livingston Parish around 7 p.m.

The occupants of a civilian vessel advised LDWF agents patrolling the area of a boating crash incident that just occurred one mile up river.  Agents immediately responded and were first on scene.

Upon arrival agents found that the 19-foot vessel had struck and was lodged under a pier.  The five occupants of the vessel are listed below:

Jack Riffle, 41, operator; Elizabeth Riffle, 44, wife of Jack; 15 year old girl, daughter of the Riffles; 13-year-old boy, son of the Riffles; and Chico Garcia, 29.  All involved are from Baton Rouge and found to have injuries ranging from moderate to very serious

Agents immediately summoned emergency medical responders and began removing debris in order to access and provide basic first-aid to the injured until the advanced medical responders were able to arrive.  The cause of the incident is currently under investigation by LDWF.

Agents involved in the response were Sgt. Randy Lanoux, Sgt. Todd Lewis, Sgt. Ezekiel Talbert, Agent Terry Hicks and Agent Dale Wheat.

For more information contact Adam Einck at aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

LDWF, CCA-Louisiana and Cabela's Host Women's Fishing Workshop

Release Date: 08/05/2011

Women’s Weekend Fishing Workshop Group
Women’s Weekend Fishing Workshop Fish Cleaning
Women’s Weekend Fishing Workshop Boater Ed

Aug. 5, 2011– The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), CCA-Louisiana and Cabela’s teamed up to present a Women’s Weekend Fishing Workshop on Sunday, July 24 at the Cabela’s Gonzales location.

LDWF staff from the Education Section and Fisheries Outreach provided instruction in fishing basics to 27 participants during the eight hour program.Instruction included Fishing 101, boater education, boat hauling/trailering, casting techniques, fish identification, fish cleaning and fish tagging, plus presentations on sportsfish restoration, fish otolith removal and the aging process. Hands-on activities included maneuvering a boat on a trailer, casting, tagging red fish and cleaning trout.  Each participant received complimentary outdoor items from Cabela’s and Fisheries Outreach. 

The next scheduled Women’s Weekend Workshop featuring “Hunting Basics” is scheduled for Oct. 22 at the Waddill Outdoor Education Center in Baton Rouge.  Due to limitations on space available, anyone interested should contact Karen C. Edwards at (318) 766-8144 or kedwards@wlf.la.gov for more information.

The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana's abundant natural resources. For more information, visit us at www.wlf.louisiana.gov on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffb or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.

Body of 12 Year Old Girl Found

Release Date: 07/19/2011

 

Search and rescue teams have located the body of the 12-year-old Mandeville girl who has been missing since being ejected into the water after a boating crash incident in Shell Beach Bayou in St. Bernard Parish on July 16.
The search and rescue teams found the body of Samantha Vinturella shortly after 11 a.m. in Lake Borgne about 5 to 6 miles from the original boating crash incident site.

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division (LDWF) agents responded to a two vessel collision between a 20 foot boat operated by Marion Funchess, 61, of Folsom, and a 15 foot boat operated by Paul Battle, age 48, of Mandevile, on the evening of July 16 in the Shell Beach Bayou.  Battle had four juvenile passengers on board including the missing 12 year old girl.  Funchess had an adult passenger on board his boat.

All four juveniles were ejected from the 15 foot boat operated by Battle with three of them able to be recovered from the water.  Battle was not ejected from the boat, but was taken to the hospital with serious injuries.  Funchess and his passenger did not receive any major injuries.

LDWF, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Navy, New Orleans Police Department, Louisiana State Police, St. Bernard, St. Tammany and Plaquemines parishes Sheriff’s Offices have been searching since July 16 for Vinturella.

According to LDWF Enforcement Division Col. Winton Vidrine, LDWF will be the lead investigating agency for this boating crash incident to determine a cause of the collision and death.  Vinturella was not wearing a personal flotation device when the boating crash incident occurred and her body will be turned over to the St. Tammany Parish Coroner’s Office.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

Safe Boating Students Have Chance To Enter LSU Ticket Giveaway

Release Date: 07/12/2011

 

The Louisiana Wildlife Agents Association (LWAA) has purchased two Louisiana State University (LSU) football season tickets that will be raffled to students that attend selected safe boating classes.

The LWAA will randomly select six students who attend a Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) safe boating course between July 13 and August 27.  Each of the six students selected will receive two tickets to one of LSU's home games this fall.

"This donation from the agents association was very generous and will help spur interest in our safe boating classes.  Anytime we can offer an incentive for people to take this very valuable class is a bonus as boating safety education is proven to save lives on the water," said LDWF Sec. Robert Barham.

Louisiana boaters born after Jan. 1, 1984 must complete a LDWF approved boating education course and carry proof of completion to operate a motorboat in excess of 10 horsepower.  LDWF initiated the state's boating education program in 2003 and has certified over 40,000 boaters during that time.

Studies have shown that states with a mandatory boating education program have fewer boating incidents that result in fatalities than states that have no boating education program.  States with a boating education program for more than 20 years had 3.67 fatalities per 100,000 registered boats, and states with no boating education program had 6.61 fatalities per 100,000 boats.

"Not only will the student get their official safe boating certificate from the department, but they get the chance to see our LSU Tigers play in Tiger Stadium.  These tickets are very valuable as LSU is in a great position to make runs at both the SEC and National Championship and have Florida, Arkansas and the defending national champion in Auburn coming to Baton Rouge," said Barham.

For more information on the safe boating course, please visit www.wlf.louisiana.gov/boating.

LWAA is a non-profit corporation that fosters, protects and promotes the welfare and interest of all classified commissioned LDWF enforcement agents, active or retired.  For more information and donation opportunities for the LWAA, please visit www.lwaa.org.

LWAA supports and provides funding for the following: Fallen Officers of the LDWF Enforcement Division, Louisiana Law Enforcement Fallen Officers Fund, Louisiana Special Olympics Program, hunting and boating Safety, National Hunting and Fishing Day, Children's Hospital, American Heart Association, St. Jude's Hospital, Louisiana Lions Camp For Crippled Children, Muscular Dystrophy Association, American Cancer Society, Toys to Recovery, Louis Infant Crisis Center, Becoming an Outdoor Woman, Operation Game Thief and Camp Quality.

The following are the eligible LDWF safe boating classes for the LSU football ticket raffle:

Minden: July 13-14 (5 p.m. to 9 p.m. both nights) 318-371-3049

Opelousas: July 16 (8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m) 337-948-0259

Lake Charles: July 16 (8 a.m. to 5 p.m.) 337-491-2580

Abbeville: July 17 (8 a.m. to 4 p.m.) 337-491-2580

Rhinehart: July 23 (class starts at 9 a.m.) 318-487-5634

Covington: July 23 (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) 225-765-2999

Henderson: July 23 (8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) 337-948-0259

Destrehan: July 23 (9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.) 504-284-2023

Marksville: July 27-28 (6 p.m. to 9 p.m. both nights) 318-487-5634

Crowley: July 30 (8 a.m. to 5 p.m.) 337-491-2580

Gonzales: July 30 (9 a.m. to 6 p.m.) 225-765-2999

Metairie: July 30 (9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.) 504-284-2023

Abbeville: Aug. 3 (8 a.m. to 4 p.m.) 337-491-2580

Vacherie: Aug. 6 (8 a.m. to 4 p.m.) 225-562-2572

Ville Platte: Aug. 6 (8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) 337-948-0259

Opelousas: Aug. 13 (8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) 337-948-0259

Houma: Aug. 13 (8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) 985-447-0821

Monroe: Aug. 13 (9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.) 318-343-2417

Metairie: Aug. 13 (9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.) 504-284-2023

Ferriday: Aug. 20 (class starts at 9 a.m.) 318-487-5634

Pierre Part: Aug. 20 (8 a.m. to 4 p.m.) 985-447-0821

Lake Charles: Aug. 20 (8 a.m. to 5 p.m.) 337-491-2580

Destrehan: Aug. 20 (9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.) 504-284-2023

Alexandria: Aug. 24-25 (6 p.m. to 9 p.m. both nights) 318-487-5634

Minden: Aug. 27 (8 a.m. to 4 p.m.) 318-371-3049

New Iberia: Aug. 27 (8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) 337-948-0259

Convington: Aug. 27 (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) 225-765-2999

Gonzales: Aug. 27 (9 a.m. to 6 p.m.) 225-765-2999

Please call the number listed for the classes to register.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at aeinck@wlf.la.gov or 225-765-2465.

LDWF AGENT AWARDED BOATING LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER OF THE YEAR AWARD

Release Date: 07/08/2011

Col. Winton Vidrine, Senior Agent Meyers and Lt. Col. Jeff Mayne

The National Association of Safe Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) awarded their Louisiana Boating Law Enforcement Officer of the Year award to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division's Senior Agent Toby Meyers.

Meyers received the award on July 7 at the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission meeting in Baton Rouge.

Meyers, of Shreveport, joined LDWF in 2003 and mainly patrols the waterways in Caddo, Bossier and Desoto parishes.

"Senior Agent Meyers takes pride in what he does and portrays a positive example of what an enforcement agent should be," said Lt. Col. Jeff Mayne, LDWF's State Boating Law Administrator.  "This award is well deserved and reflects Senior Agent Meyer's dedication to safe boating and waterway enforcement."

Meyers is a graduate of the marine patrol officers course, NASBLA’s boating under the influence course and is certified in swift water rescue.  Meyers uses his training and experience to patrol the waterways, investigate boat thefts, determine causes of accidents and enforcing the boating laws.  Meyers is also one of LDWF's boater education instructors.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

Sulphur Man Arrested for DWI on the Water

Release Date: 06/28/2011

 

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents arrested a Sulphur man on June 23 for allegedly driving or operating a vessel while intoxicated (DWI) in Calcasieu Parish.

Agents arrested William Hafer, 40, for DWI and also cited him for destroying crab traps and removing contents, taking commercial fish without a commercial fishing license or commercial gear license.

While on boat patrol, agents observed Hafer on a waterway south of Sulphur running crab traps.  Agents made contact with Hafer and determined that he did not have permission to remove the contents of the crab traps that he was checking.

While investigating the theft of crabs, agents observed that Hafer was operating his vessel under the influence of alcohol.  Hafer was taken to the landing where he was placed under arrest and brought to the Calcasieu Parish Correctional Facility and booked for DWI and crab theft charges.

Destroying legal crab traps or removing contents carries a penalty of $400-$950, up to 120 days in jail, or both plus court costs.  Taking commercial fish without commercial license and without a commercial gear license carries a penalty of $250-$500, or up to 90 days in jail, or both plus court costs for each offense.

This was Hafer's second offense DWI, which carries a fine of $750-$1,000, plus imprisonment between 30 days to six months.

Agents participating were Lt. Remy Broussard and Senior Agent Beau Robertson.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

LDWF Agents Issue 10 DWI's During Operation Dry Water Weekend

Release Date: 06/27/2011

 

In support of Operation Dry Water, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) arrested 10 boaters statewide for driving or operating a vessel while intoxicated (DWI) from Friday, June 24 to Sunday, June 26.

In the northern part of the state agents arrested Michael Smith, 34, of Jonesville, on Bushley Bayou in Catahoula Parish on June 25; Eric Bates Jr., 22, of Bernice, on Corney Lake in Claiborne Parish on June 24; and Bryon Breedlove, 26, of Shreveport, on the Red River in Bossier Parish on June 26.

Agents arrested Lyle Laussade III, 22, of Ponchatoula, on the Tickfaw River on June 25; David Goodale, 43, of Walker, on the Tickfaw River on June 25; Brian Hernandez, 49, of Baton Rouge, on the Amite River/Diversion Canal on June 25; and Chad Panepinto, 27, of Hammond, on the Tickfaw River on June 26 in the eastern part of the state.

In the southern part of the state agents arrested Kevin Davis, 54, of Texas, on the Belle River in St. Martin Parish on June 25; Lance LeBlanc, 23, of Bourg, on the Intracoastal Canal in Terrebonne Parish; and Dwight Landry, 56, of Breaux Bridge, in Henderson Bay in St. Martin Parish on June 25.

"We take DWI enforcement on the water very serious since the leading cause of boating fatalities is alcohol," said Lt. Col. Jeff Mayne, the state's boating law administrator.  "We want everybody on the water to have a good time, but to keep in mind that they need a designated driver just like on land."

Alcohol can impair a boater’s judgment, balance, vision and reaction time.  It can increase fatigue and susceptibility to the effects of cold-water immersion.  Sun, wind, noise, vibration and motion intensify the side effects of alcohol, drugs and some prescription medications.

Louisiana had 32 fatalities from boating crash incidents in 2009.  Alcohol was again the leading primary cause of those boating fatal incidents leading to 24 percent of the fatalities.  Nationwide, statistics from 2009 reveal that 16 percent of all boat incident fatalities were a direct result of alcohol or drug use.

LDWF agents issued 216 DWI citations to boat operators in 2009.  Anyone cited for a DWI on the water or on the road will lose his or her driver's license and boating privileges for the specified time ordered by the judge in the case.  Also, each offense of operating a vehicle or vessel while intoxicated counts toward the total number of DWI crimes whether they happened on the water or road.

In Louisiana, a DWI on the water carries the same penalties and fines as on the road and includes jail time, fines and loss of driving and boating operator privileges.

In Louisiana a DWI can be issued to anyone operating a moving vessel or vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher.  First offense DWI carries a $300 to $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail.  Second offense DWI brings a $750 to $1,000 fine and between 30 days and six months in jail.  Third offense DWI carries a $5,000 fine and between one and five years in jail.

Operation Dry Water was started in 2009 and is a joint program involving LDWF, the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) and the U.S. Coast Guard.  More information is available at www.operationdrywater.org.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

LDWF To Hold Summer Camp For Kids 12 to 16 Years Old

Release Date: 06/27/2011

 

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is sponsoring a summer camp from July 18-22, 2011 for children 12 to 16 years old at the Waddill Outdoor Education Center in Baton Rouge.

The camp is completely free of charge and will allow participants to receive their official boater and hunter education certifications.  LDWF will also offer a fish identification class, fishing and canoeing in the ponds at the Waddill Outdoor Education Center, skeet shooting, and other outdoor related classes and activities.

"We want to teach children, before they finish middle and high school, the fun and excitement of spending time outdoors,” said LDWF Secretary Robert Barham.  “For a week, parents have the chance to let their kids become sportsmen and women in a safe, supervised environment.  Not only will they get valuable boater and hunter education certificates, but they will have the chance to get excited about spending less time with computers and video games, and more time enjoying the truly exciting activities Louisiana’s great outdoors has to offer.”

The Louisiana Wildlife Agents Association and Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation are providing a daily lunch free of charge for the five-day summer camp.  Cabela's in Gonzales also donated a rod and reel combo set that each child will receive to fish with while at the camp and take home.

In addition to LDWF's instructor's, the Louisiana branch of the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) will also have personnel on site and will give each student a CCA membership upon completion of the camp.

The camp is open to the first 20 children that register.  To register, contact Adam Einck at 225-765-2465 or aeinck@wlf.la.gov.  The camp is only open to children who do not have a boater or hunter education certificate.

Parents who register their children, may drop them off at the Waddill Outdoor Education Center located at 4142 North Flannery Rd., Baton Rouge, LA 70814 between 7 and 8 a.m., and then pick their kids up between 4 and 5 p.m. each day.  Attendance every day of the week is mandatory in order to receive the boating and hunting education certifications.

Anybody born after Jan. 1, 1984 must complete a boating education course and carry proof of completion to operate a motorboat in excess of 10 horsepower.  The course includes information on choosing a boat, classification, hulls, motors, legal requirements and equipment requirements.  The course also covers many navigation rules and charts, trailering, sailboats, canoeing, personal watercraft and more.  Completion of the course will result in the student being issued a vessel operators certification card.

The hunter education course is mandatory for anyone born on or after Sept. 1, 1969, who plans on purchasing a hunting license.  The hunter education curriculum includes sections on ethics and responsibility, wildlife management, firearms and ammunition, safety in the field, wildlife identification and wildlife conservation.  The major objectives of the hunter education programs are to reduce the number of hunting accidents, improve the image of hunting through ethical and responsible conduct and promote the shooting sports.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

LDWF Enforcement Division Cooperating In Operation Dry Water June 24-26

Release Date: 06/22/2011

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Law Enforcement Division (LDWF/LED) agents will take part in Operation Dry Water from June 24-26 with increased patrols for operating or driving a boat while intoxicated (DWI) enforcement and boating safety.

During the Operation Dry Water weekend, LDWF agents will be out in force patrolling state waterways for boat operators whose blood alcohol content exceeds the state limit of .08 percent.

"We want people to be safe and have fun while boating recreationally," commented Lt. Col. Jeff Mayne, LDWF’s state Boating Law Administrator.  "But alcohol use has become the leading contributing factor in fatal recreational boating accidents.  We recommend that boaters avoid drinking alcoholic beverages at all times, and we will have zero tolerance for anyone found operating a boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs on our waters."

Alcohol can impair a boater’s judgment, balance, vision and reaction time.  It can increase fatigue and susceptibility to the effects of cold-water immersion.  Sun, wind, noise, vibration and motion intensify the side effects of alcohol, drugs and some prescription medications.

Louisiana had 32 fatalities from boating crash incidents in 2009.  Alcohol was again the leading primary cause of those boating fatal incidents leading to 24 percent of the fatalities.  Nationwide, statistics from 2009 reveal that 16 percent of all boat incident fatalities were a direct result of alcohol or drug use.

Impaired boaters caught this weekend can expect penalties to be severe.  In Louisiana, a DWI on the water carries the same penalties and fines as on the road and includes jail time, fines and loss of driving and boating operator privileges.

LDWF agents issued 216 DWI citations to boat operators in 2009.  Anyone cited for a DWI on the water or on the road will lose his or her driver's license and boating privileges for the specified time ordered by the judge in the case.  Also, each offense of operating a vehicle or vessel while intoxicated counts toward the total number of DWI crimes whether they happened on the water or road.

In Louisiana a DWI can be issued to anyone operating a moving vessel or vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher.  First offense DWI carries a $300 to $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail.  Second offense DWI brings a $750 to $1,000 fine and between 30 days and six months in jail.  Third offense DWI carries a $5,000 fine and between one and five years in jail.

“There will be arrests this weekend and some boaters will face the consequences of operating a boat while impaired," added Lt. Col. Mayne.  "But we'd much rather arrest someone than to have to tell their friends and family they're never coming back."

Operation Dry Water was started in 2009 and is a joint program involving the LDWF/LED, the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) and the U.S. Coast Guard.  More information is available at www.operationdrywater.org.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

Louisiana Boaters Can Take Free Boating Safety Course at Home

Release Date: 06/21/2011

 

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is now offering a new online boating safety course provided by the BoatUS Foundation.  The course can be found at www.BoatUS.org or www.wlf.louisiana.gov/boating/courses.

The new online course is approved by LDWF and the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) and allows Louisiana boaters to get their safe boating certification at no cost in the comfort of their own home.

"The department wants to provide as many opportunities as possible for people to get their boating safety certification," said Lt. Col. Jeff Mayne, the state's boating law administrator.  "Since the course is free and people can take it at home, we want to encourage everybody to give it a try even those that don't need their certification.  This free online course will teach new boaters how to become safer on the water and old boaters some new tips."

Louisiana boaters born after Jan. 1, 1984 must complete a NASBLA approved boating education course and carry proof of completion to operate a motorboat in excess of 10 horsepower.  LDWF initiated the state's boating education program in 2003 and has certified over 40,000 boaters during that time.

Studies have shown that states with a mandatory boating education program have fewer boating incidents that result in fatalities than states that have no boating education program.  States with a boating education program for more than 20 years had 3.67 fatalities per 100,000 registered boats, and states with no boating education program had 6.61 fatalities per 100,000 boats.

With the free online course, those looking to get certified now have three options to choose from: the traditional classroom course taught in one day, the free online course from BoatUS.org and an online course for a small fee from boat-ed.com.

The free online course and exam is recognized by the U.S. Coast Guard as exceeding the minimum requirements for the National Recreational Boating Safety Program.

“We’ve loaded the course with interactive animations, videos and photos to give boaters, sailors and anglers an education that goes well beyond the basics of boating,” said BoatUS Foundation Director of Boating Safety Chris Edmonston. “It includes videos that demonstrate important safety devices such as visual distress signals, how to get help in an emergency, how to prevent and extinguish fires aboard your boat, and the best way to fit a life jacket to a child so they will not slip out.”

Upon successful completion of the course, boaters print out their own certificate of completion as proof of boater education.

About the BoatUS Foundation:
The BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water is a national leader promoting safe, clean and responsible boating. Funded primarily by the half million members of BoatUS, it provides innovative educational outreach directly to boaters and anglers with the aim of reducing accidents and fatalities, increasing stewardship of America's waterways and keeping boating safe for all. To make a tax-deductible donation to this 501(c)(3) nonprofit, go to www.BoatUS.com/foundation.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

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