Two 16 year old boys from the Crowley area survived a boating incident on the Indian Creek Reservoir in Rapides Parish on Oct. 26.
The juveniles were fishing and traveling in a boat channel on the north end of the reservoir in a boat when they struck a tree. Both boys were ejected from the 16 foot aluminum vessel and sustained minor to moderate cuts and bruises.
Because the operator was wearing the engine cut-off switch lanyard, the vessel shut off after the boys were ejected. The boys were able to get back into the stalled vessel where a fisherman found them shortly after the incident and transported them to the boat launch where Acadian Ambulance was then able to transport the passenger to the Rapides General Hospital to treat a leg injury.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division will be the leading investigative agency for this incident.
LDWF agents believe at this time that the boys greatly increased their chance of survival because the operator took a safe boating education class, both boys were wearing personal flotation devices (PFDs) and the operator utilized the engine cut-off switch lanyard.
“These boys took all the right precautions to increase their chance of survival,” said Col. Joey Broussard, head of the Enforcement Division. “We believe that this could have been a fatal outcome had they not been wearing PFDs that kept them afloat in case they wouldn’t have been able to swim from their injuries and the cut-off switch lanyard that prevented the boat from turning into a weapon and hitting one or both of the boys.”
PFDs are required for anyone 16 years of age and younger when in a vessel less than 26 foot long while underway. An engine cut-off switch is required for anyone operating a vessel with a hand tiller outboard motor that is less than 26 foot long and in excess of 10 horsepower that is designed to have a cut-off switch.
“While this vessel was not required to have the cut-off switch since it was not a hand tiller engine, we always teach people to use it if the boat has one,” said Lt. Col. Sammy Martin, the state’s Boating Law Administrator. “We are hoping that other people will see how these boys took the extra couple of safety precautions by wearing their PFDs and cut-off switch that may have been the difference between life and death.”
The free boating education safety class is mandatory for anyone born after Jan. 1, 1984 operating a vessel in excess of 10 horsepower. The classes are available statewide and year-round and the schedule can be found at www.wlf.louisiana.gov/boating.
For more information, contact Adam Einck at 225-765-2465 or firstname.lastname@example.org.