SAFE BOATING WEEK MAY 20-26, 2006

Release Date: 05/19/2006

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is pleased to announce that Governor Kathleen Blanco has proclaimed May 20-26 as Safe Boating Week in Louisiana and the State Legislature has approved a resolution highlighting this important water safety event. 


In Louisiana and across the nation, May 20-26 will be recognized as Safe Boating Week to remind boaters to practice safe and responsible boating by always wearing a life jacket and remaining alert on the water. Statistics show that nearly 70 percent of the boating fatalities in Louisiana are due to drowning and  nearly 80 percent of those victims were not wearing a life jacket.


"Maintaining a safe and enjoyable atmosphere on our state waterways is a major goal of the Enforcement Division," said LDWF's Colonel Winton Vidrine. "We encourage the boating public to wear their life jacket while participating in activities on the water."


Enforcement agents across the state will be highlighting safe boating activities as  the summer boating season begins. The Louisiana Wildlife Agent's Association has also partnered with LDWF to hand out free t-shirts to kids wearing life jackets when agents make random safety inspections on the water.  The t-shirts are sponsored by businesses across the state and are inscribed with the slogan: "I Got Caught Wearing My Life Jacket."


LDWF encourages all boaters to enroll in a boating education course. Boating knowledge and skills are important in reducing human error and improving judgment.  Those completing the course are more aware of the risks involved during time spent on the water and understand the need for precautionary measures that protect themselves, their friends, family, and others.


For more information on safe boating practices, regulations, or boating education courses, please visit LDWF's Web site at www.wlf.louisiana.gov.


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For more information, contact Sgt. Rachel M. Zechenelly at 225-765-2984  or rzechenelly@wlf.louisiana.gov.