Boating

Lake Bistineau July 7, 2010 Update

 

The department has requested DOTD’s assistance to close the Lake Bistineau water control gates on Wednesday, July 14, 2010.  Fisheries staff are beginning to observe giant salvinia accumulating in some areas of the lake and agreed that it’s time to initiate some water fluctuation and attempt to strand plants.  Of course, present water levels need to rise in order to initiate this method.  Opening the gates in the future will depend on rain events and plant accumulations. 

It will not necessarily be our goal to allow the lake level to rise to pool stage in order to initiate water fluctuation.  We plant to alert the public a week in advance of either opening or closing the gates. 

While the lake has been down, fisheries staff have been evaluating salvinia re-emergence and assessing the lake bed.  Aspects of the plan remain incomplete pending the completion of this work.  Central to our efforts include a lake bed contour map and identifying areas for “dirt work” and tree removal.  Some of this work is best completed while the lake is down.  Allowing the lake to rise at this point is not expected to complicate these efforts.

Spray crews have treated some salvinia accumulations with herbicide spray applications.  As the lake level rises, our crews will have easier access to shallow areas and our efforts will increase.   

In addition, some areas have been designated to evaluate SONAR treatments.  These treatments, similar to Galleon treatments, require that water volume remain constant for several weeks to obtain desirable results.  Applications are expected in July.

Our website is presently being overhauled and our communication diminished in the last few weeks.  Our new site will be up soon.  We apologize for the inconvenience.

Mark McElroy
Fisheries Biologist

July 4 Boat Explosion on Old River Injures Five

Release Date: 07/06/2010

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents patrolling Old River in Pointe Coupee Parish responded to a call about a boat explosion after 7 p.m. on July 4. The boat had 6 passengers on board at the time of the explosion and all passengers, including the operator, ended up in the water.

The boat's occupants were quickly pulled from the water by West Feliciana Parish Sheriff’s deputies working in the area and taken back to the boat launch. Agents responding found that Matthew P. Wilkes, 26, of Lakeland, was operating a 19-foot ski boat on Old River, when for unknown reasons the engine compartment exploded. Five of the passengers received third degree burns on their legs and backs. The injured were taken by Acadian Ambulance and Acadian Air Med to local hospitals for immediate medical treatment of their burns.

Those injured were: Raina Brown, 24, of Baton Rouge; Todd Hymel, 27, of Baton Rouge; Chris Duet, 25, of Baton Rouge; Keith Silvio, 25, of Baton Rouge; and Dustin Musso, 28, of Baton Rouge. Wilkes and passenger Allyson Marshall, 23, of Lakeland, were not injured.

The accident is currently under investigation by LDWF's Enforcement Division. Agents working the investigation are Sgt. Chris Carpenter and Senior Agent Allan Marbury. The West Feliciana Parish Sheriff's Office, Pointe Coupee Parish Sheriff’s Office and LDWF all responded to the incident.

For more information, contact Capt. Lastie Cormier, ph. 337-948-0257 or lcormier@wlf.la.gov

2010-208

Catfish Lake

Acreage: 
1,758 Acres

Calcasieu Lake

Acreage: 
49,156 Acres

BOATING EDUCATION COURSE NOW MANDATORY FOR GREATER NUMBER OF YOUNG BOATERS IN LOUISIANA

Release Date: 06/30/2010

Beginning Thursday, July 1, anyone born after Jan. 1, 1984, will be required to successfully complete a National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) boating education course to operate a motorboat over 10 horsepower in Louisiana. The state law previously required that anyone born after Jan. 1, 1988, had to complete a course. The 2009 Legislature approved the new age requirement with July 1, 2010 as the effective date.

For anyone in need of boating safety certification, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is offering numerous safe boating course opportunities this summer.

The LDWF-offered, NASBLA-approved boating courses are free and available across the state to assist boaters, fishermen and hunters in meeting boating education requirements.  Anyone interested in attending a free course can view a schedule of courses on the LDWF Web site at www.wlf.louisiana.gov/boating/courses.  An online NASBLA approved course is also available for a small fee.

"Studies show that boating education is an important factor in reducing boating crashes and fatalities.  Even experienced boaters can benefit from taking a boating education course," said LDWF Capt. Rachel Zechenelly.

A person may operate a motorboat over 10 horsepower in Louisiana without proof of course completion, if accompanied by someone over 18 years of age who, if required, has completed the course.   LDWF reminds boaters to follow the rules of the road, wear a personal flotation device and designate a sober vessel operator to keep Louisiana?s waterways safe for all boaters.  For more information on regulations or boating safety, please visit www.wlf.louisiana.gov/boating.

For more information, contact Capt. Rachel Zechenelly at 225-765-2984 or rzechenelly@wlf.la.gov.

2010-202

Boating Incident Reporting

REPORT AN ACCIDENT

An operator involved in a boating crash, collision or other casualty must stop his or her vessel immediately at the scene of the incident. The operator must also render assistance to injured persons or attempt to minimize any danger caused by the incident unless doing so would create serious danger to his own vessel, crew, and passengers.

The operator must give his or her name, address, and the identifying number of his or her vessel in writing to anyone injured from the incident and to the owner of any damaged property.

The operator of a vessel involved in a collision, crash, or other casualty involving a recreational vessel and resulting in death or injury to a person, disappearance of a person from a vessel, property damage in excess of five hundred dollars ($500), or complete loss of a vessel must give notice of the incident immediately, by the most prompt means of communication, to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Law Enforcement Division (LDWF/LED), the nearest law enforcement agency, or to state police. The number to report an incident to LDWF/LED is 1-800-442-2511.

The driver of any vessel involved in a collision, crash, or other casualty as described previously must forward a department-approved incident report form to LDWF/LED, within five days after the incident.

Reports must be submitted to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Boating Safety & Waterway Enforcement, P.O. Box 98000, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70898-9000.
Reports in other cases must be submitted within 5 days.
 

TO OBTAIN A COPY OF AN ACCIDENT

Copies of boat accidents may be obtained by sending a request in writing to Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Boating Safety & Waterway Enforcement, P.O. Box 98000, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70898-9000. Your request needs to include the following information:

1.Name and Address of Operator/Owner
2.Registration Number of Vessel
3.Date of Accident
4.Location of Accident

For a copy of a boating accident report, send a $7.50 check or money order.

For copies of photos of the accident, please include an additional $10.00 in the check or money order.

L.D.W.F. AGENTS RECOVER SECOND VICTIM OF LAKE PALOURDE BOATING INCIDENT

Release Date: 06/23/2010

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents today recovered the body of a teenaged girl who has been missing since entering the water in Lake Palourde this past weekend.

LDWF recovered the body of Theresa Hidalgo, 18, of Gramercy, near the west shore in Lake Palourde.  Hidalgo was in a 16-foot bass boat along with husband and wife Michael, 39, and Andrea St. Amant, of Donaldsonville on Sunday, June 20 in Lake Palourde.  Search teams recovered the body of Michael St. Amant on Monday, June 21.

According to Andrea St. Amant, Michael and Theresa fell overboard from Michael's boat around 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 20.  Andrea said that she did not know how to operate the boat and did not have cell phone service.  After drifting for a few minutes, Andrea said she was able to flag down some nearby jet skiers who then were able to get to an area with cell phone service to call 911.

LDWF Enforcement Division agents received the 911 call and arrived on the scene within minutes and began searching for the missing boaters until nightfall.  Other agencies that participated in the search for Michael and Theresa were the St. Mary's and St. Martin's Parish Sheriff's Offices, the Patterson Police Department, Stephensville Fire Department and Morgan City Fire Department.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at 225-765-2465 (office) or 225-354-9517 (cell) or aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

2010-197

L.D.W.F. ENFORCEMENT DIVISION COOPERATING IN OPERATION DRY WATER JUNE 25-27

Release Date: 06/22/2010

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Law Enforcement Division (LDWF/LED) agents will take part in this weekend’s Operation Dry Water, a nationally coordinated effort focusing on increased boating safety.

From June 25 through 27, agents will be out in force patrolling state waterways for boat operators whose blood alcohol content exceeds the state limit of .08 percent. Operation Dry Water includes increased patrols as well as boater education.

"We want people to be safe and have fun while boating recreationally," commented Lt. Col. Jeff Mayne, LDWF’s state Boating Law Administrator.  "But alcohol use has become the leading contributing factor in fatal recreational boating accidents.  We recommend that boaters avoid drinking alcoholic beverages at all times, and we will have zero tolerance for anyone found operating a boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs on our waters."

Alcohol can impair a boater’s judgment, balance, vision and reaction time.  It can increase fatigue and susceptibility to the effects of cold-water immersion.  Sun, wind, noise, vibration and motion intensify the side effects of alcohol, drugs and some prescription medications.  

Louisiana had 32 fatalities from boating crash incidents in 2009.  Alcohol was again the leading primary cause of those boating fatal incidents leading to 24 percent of the fatalities.  Out of the 32 fatalities from boating crash incidents, 17 were drowning and 15 of those were not wearing a life jacket.  Nationwide, statistics from 2008 reveal that 17 percent of all boat incident fatalities were a direct result of alcohol or drug us.

Impaired boaters caught this weekend can expect penalties to be severe.  In Louisiana, a DWI on the water is the same penalties and fines as they are on the road and include jail time, fines and loss of driving and boating operator privileges.   

“There will be arrests this weekend and some boaters will face the consequences of operating a boat while impaired," added Lt. Col. Mayne.  "But we'd much rather arrest someone than to have to tell their friends and family they're never coming back."

Operation Dry Water is a joint program involving the LDWF/LED, the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) and the U.S. Coast Guard.  More information is available at www.operationdrywater.org.

 For more information contact Lt. Rachel Zechenelly at 225-765-2984 or rzechenelly@wlf.la.gov.

2010-195

FUN Camp

 Families Understanding Nature Camp

FUN means Families Understanding Nature and offers parents and their children an opportunity to spend a weekend in the outdoors, re-establishing bonds and honing outdoor skills.

They participate in a variety of activities (shooting, fishing, canoeing, camping, and ecology) to develop a greater appreciation for the outdoors, become more comfortable in an outdoor environment and have fun. Children must be between 10 and 13 years old to attend. There are no facilities for children younger than 10 years old.

NOTE: Parents and boys will be in one barracks wing while parents and girls will be in another wing.

Families Understanding Nature Camp 2014 Schedule

Father-Child Families Understanding Nature Camp: March 6-8, 2015

Mother-Child Families Understanding Nature Camp: October 2-4, 2015

ACTIVITIES

Rifle Shooting
Firearm safety and marksmanship will be reviewed. Actual shooting of .22 caliber rifles will be conducted under an instructor's supervision. All firearms, ammunition, targets and safety equipment will be provided.

Shotgun Shooting
Firearm safety and marksmanship will be reviewed. Actual shooting of 20 gauge shotguns will be conducted under an instructor's supervision. All firearms, ammunition, targets and safety equipment will be provided.

Archery
Learn basic archery fundamentals. Practice what you have learned by shooting arrows with a bow under an instructor's supervision. All bows, arrows, targets and safety equipment provided.

Canoeing
Learn the basics of canoe handling and safety. Then take a canoe trip, and visit a real beaver dam, around beautiful Indian Creek Reservoir with one of our instructors. Canoes, paddles and Personal Flotation Devices furnished.

Fishing
The basics of fishing - rods and reels, baits, tackle and accessories will be covered. The instructor will provide tips on casting and where to find fish. There will be plenty of time to wet a hook. All the fishing gear will be provided, or feel free to bring your own.

Compass Reading
Learn how to use a compass and try your hand on a simple compass course. Parents and children work together to learn basic orienteering skills.

Nature Study Hike
Our instructor will lead you on a hike. You'll identify some plants and animals, collect and identify some aquatic organisms and learn how to improve your observation skills. Tips and ideas will be given on how to have a safe and enjoyable hike and some things to do on your hike.

Camping
Saturday night all participants will camp out and cook supper and breakfast. Instructors will guide you in setting up a camp, building a fire, cooking and clean up. Tents and cooking gear will be provided.

For more information on Father/Child Families Understanding Nature Camp, contact Chad Moore @ 318-371-3043 or email cmoore@wlf.la.gov  and Karen Crabtree @ 318-766-8144 or email kcrabtree@wlf.la.gov for Mother/Child Families Understanding Nature Camp or Families Understanding Nature Camp.

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