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Safety tips for Louisiana boaters

During the hot and steamy Louisiana summers, many people like to get out on the water to cool down. Boating is a favorite pastime in our neck of the woods, but there have been several boating accidents so far this year. Just last week, a boat carrying two shrimpers capsized near Terrebonne. Fortunately, they were rescued, and their accident provides a good opportunity to offer some tips about staying safe on your boat.

First and foremost, always have enough life jackets for everyone on board. According to Louisiana law, children who are younger than 17 are required to wear a life jacket while a boat is in motion. If a boat overturns, it is a good way to keep everyone above water.

Next, keep a waterproof radio on your boat. According to a senior agent with Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries, many boaters have opted for cellphones instead of radios, which can be troublesome in the many deadzones on Louisiana waterways. If your cellphone loses service and you don't have a radio, you have put yourself in a very dangerous situation. 

Finally, avoid drinking while operating a boat. We all know the dangers of drinking and driving, but sometimes we forget that drinking and boating can have similar effects. Crashes are much more likely to occur when the a boat's driver is impaired. 

Boating is an enjoyable activitiy for many people in Louisiana, but it can quickly become scary and dangerous when a crash occurs. By following these few steps and using good judgement, Louisiana boaters can stay safe on the water. 

Source: houmatoday.com, "Latest boat crash a reminder to be safe," Mary Kilpatrick, Aug. 16, 2013