Safe Boating Week is under way, just in time for the unofficial start of summer on Memorial Day.

According to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, eight people have died on the water, as of Friday, May 18. On Saturday, May 19, a 67-year-old man was found in the Intracoastal Waterway in Vermilion Parish after he went boating earlier that morning.

Obeying the rules of the water may not only save your life; they may also save you from getting fined.

The driver of the vessel cannot be intoxicated. Impairment is the leading cause of boating accidents. If you are in violation, you can lose your driver's license for a period of time as specified by the judge.

Everyone in the boat must have a life jacket. Those people riding in the boat who are 16 and younger must be wearing the proper life jacket. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, 83% of victims were not wearing a life jacket and two-thirds were good swimmers.

Anyone born after 1983 driving a boat with more than 10 horsepower must also take a boating course conducted by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. The courses are free.

All vessels must be equipped with certain items like cut-off switches, whistles, lights, and other stickers. A full list is available at the Wildlife and Fisheries website.

It's imperative to your safety and the safety of your passengers to make sure you are compliant with the boating laws in the state of Louisiana or whichever state you are on the water.


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