Officials say, “Stay off the booze,” if you head out on the water for Independence Day

LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) – With the influx of people expected to be enjoying the Fourth of July holiday out on the water, expect the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to be patrolling the waterways to keep everyone safe.

According to the United States Coast Guard, in 2016, Louisiana had 112 boating incidents, with 24 fatalities and 92 injuries.

“You know with the holiday weekend, its enhanced holiday traffic and we just want to make sure everybody stays safe. We’ll have agents throughout the state and we will be targeting impaired boating operators,” said Sergeant Brian Theriot with the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

That includes D.W.I. vans with breathalyzers at marinas and boat launch throughout the state.

Louisiana law on a boat is the same as on the highway; if you get caught driving impaired, you will get arrested and go to jail.

“In Louisiana, we have a great culture. A lot of times that involves consumption of alcohol. And we just want to make sure, we don’t want to be a buzz kill so to speak, but when you are in a boat, make sure you have a driver that is not impaired,” said Sergeant Theriot.

Theriot’s final message to boaters is to just stay safe.

“Safety is paramount. Wear your life jackets and stay off the booze,” he said.

If you do plan to head out on the water for Independence Day, make sure to have a valid boaters license and life jackets. State law requires anyone under the age of 16 to wear a life jacket at all times when the boat engine is running.

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