Boating

LDWF Names New Boating Law Administrator for Louisiana

Release Date: 08/15/2013

Capt. Rachel Zechenelly

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has appointed a new state Boating Law Administrator (BLA), which will represent Louisiana on the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA).

Capt. Rachel Zechenelly, of Baton Rouge, is replacing Col. Jeff Mayne as Louisiana’s BLA after Col. Mayne stepped down from the position when he was promoted to the head of the LDWF Enforcement Division in June.

“I’m honored to be named Louisiana’s Boating Law Administrator as we strive to make our waterways safer for everyone to enjoy,” said Capt. Zechenelly.  “We’ve made a lot of progress in making boating a safer experience and we will continue to look at ways to make it even safer in the future.”

Capt. Zechenelly also said she will expand education outreach programs to paddle sports due to a significant increase in people kayaking, paddle boarding and canoeing.

Capt. Zechenelly is originally from Pearl River and joined the LDWF Enforcement Division in 1999.  Capt. Zechenelly started as an agent working out of the New Orleans office where she primarily handled fishery patrols and boating safety enforcement on the water including on the coast and Gulf of Mexico.

Capt. Zechenelly was assigned to LDWF Enforcement Division’s Headquarters Staff in 2005 in Baton Rouge as the boating education coordinator.  In May of 2011, she was promoted to captain and put in charge of LDWF’s Boating Safety Enforcement and Waterways Management.  She currently oversees the Enforcement Division’s marine theft investigations, boating crash incident investigations, and the statewide boating safety education program.

“I have the utmost confidence in Capt. Zechenelly’s ability and experience to spearhead our boating safety programs,” said Col. Jeff Mayne.  “She has led our boating education program almost from the beginning and is familiar with NASBLA’s training curriculum and key personnel.”

Capt. Zechenelly has participated and coordinated the Enforcement Division’s emergency response for Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav, Ike and Isaac, the BP Oil Spill in 2010, and the Mississippi River Spring 2011 Flood event.

Capt. Zechenelly completed the U.S. Coast Guard’s Marine Patrol Officer Course and the month long National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration’s Marine Law Enforcement Training Program.  She also completed the NASBLA Comprehensive Boating Accident Investigation and Analysis Course.

NASBLA is a national nonprofit organization that works to develop public policy for recreational boating safety. NASBLA represents the recreational boating authorities of all 50 states and the U.S. territories.

NASBLA’s mission is to strengthen the ability of the state and territorial boating authorities to reduce death, injury and property damage associated with recreational boating and ensure a safe, secure and enjoyable boating environment.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at 225-765-2465 or aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

Golden Meadow Man Dies from Injuries in Boating Incident

Release Date: 07/24/2013

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents are investigating a fatal boating crash incident that occurred in Lafourche Parish this morning, July 24.

Richard Griffin Jr., 29, of Golden Meadow, was travelling north in Bayou Lafourche alone in his 16 foot vessel around 5:15 a.m. when he struck a piling.  Griffin Jr. sustained severe head trauma from his collision with the piling.

Griffin Jr. was taken to Lady of the Sea Hospital in Galliano and then transported to University Hospital in New Orleans where he was pronounced dead.

LDWF will be the lead investigative agency for this boating crash incident.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at 225-765-2465 or aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

Vessel Operator Arrested for DWI after Boating Crash Incident on Natalbany River that Severely Injured Six-Year-Old Girl

Release Date: 07/11/2013

July 11, 2013 -- Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents today, July 11, arrested a Vicksburg, Miss. man for his alleged role as an operator of a vessel during a boating crash incident that severely injured a six-year-old girl on the Natalbany River.

Agents arrested Anthony Domiono, 40, for operating or driving a vessel while intoxicated (DWI) with two children under 12 years of age, two counts of negligent injury, and reckless operation of a vessel and booked him into the Tangipahoa Parish Jail.

The boating crash incident occurred around 4:45 p.m. on June 9 when Domiono was operating a 22-foot-ski boat that had five passengers while towing a tube with two juveniles crashed into a tree along the bank of the Natalbany River in Tangipahoa Parish.  The incident happened about three miles upstream from where the river merges with the Tickfaw River.

After receiving a call from dispatch, LDWF agents arrived on scene and immediately called for a helicopter to transport a six-year-old girl.  The six-year-old-girl was in the boat at the time of the collision with the tree and suffered major head trauma and needed immediate attention.

The helicopter took the girl to Our Lady of the Lake Hospital in Baton Rouge where she was listed in critical condition.  The girl has since been discharged from the hospital and it is hopeful she can make a full recovery.

Domiono suffered a broken foot and the other five passengers were treated for minor injuries.

As standard procedure agents took blood from the operator to determine if the operator was impaired.  After receiving the blood test results, it was determined that Domiono had a blood alcohol content (BAC) higher than the legal limit of .08 BAC.

DWI brings a $300 to $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail.  Negligent injury carries up to a $1,000 fine and six months of jail per each count.  Reckless operation brings a $200 fine and up to 90 days in jail.

Sgt. Randy Lanoux is the lead investigative agent for this boating crash incident.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at 225-765-2465 or aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

LDWF Agents Participating in Operation Dry Water this Weekend June 28-30

Release Date: 06/26/2013

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Law Enforcement Division (LDWF/LED) agents will take part in Operation Dry Water from June 28-30 with increased patrols for boaters operating or driving a boat while intoxicated (DWI) enforcement and boating safety.

During the Operation Dry Water weekend, LDWF agents will be out in force patrolling state waterways for boat operators whose blood alcohol content exceeds the state limit of .08 percent.

"Alcohol is always one of the largest contributing factors for boating fatalities in Louisiana and nationwide," said Capt. Rachel Zechenelly, LDWF’s state Boating Law Administrator.  "We want people to have fun on the water, but we also want them to have a sober operator of the vessel for the safety of those in the vessel and everybody else on the water.”

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 25 boating fatalities in 2012 with alcohol playing a role in six fatalities or 24 percent.  Nationwide, statistics from 2012 reveal that 17 percent of all boat incident fatalities listed alcohol as a contributing factor.

LDWF agents issued five DWI citations to boat operators during the 2012 Operation Dry Water weekend and 10 DWI citations over the same weekend in 2011.

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

Anyone cited for a DWI on the water or on the road will lose his or her driver's license and boating privileges for the specified time ordered by the judge in the case.  Also, each offense of operating a vehicle or vessel while intoxicated counts toward the total number of DWI crimes whether they happened on the water or road.

In Louisiana a DWI can be issued to anyone operating a moving vessel or vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher.  First offense DWI carries a $300 to $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail.  Second offense DWI brings a $750 to $1,000 fine and between 30 days and six months in jail.  Third offense DWI carries a $5,000 fine and between one and five years in jail.

Operation Dry Water was started in 2009 and 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, please contact Adam Einck at 225-765-2465 or aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

Six Year Old Girl in Critical Condition after Boating Incident on Natalbany River

Release Date: 06/10/2013

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents are investigating a boating incident that took place on the Natalbany River in Tangipahoa Parish on June 9.

Around 4:45 p.m. a 22 foot ski boat that had five passengers while towing a tube with two juveniles crashed into a tree along the bank of the Natalbany River.  The incident happened about three miles upstream from where the river merges with the Tickfaw River.

After receiving a call from dispatch, LDWF agents arrived on scene and immediately called for a helicopter to transport a six year old girl.  The six year old girl was in the boat at the time of the collision with the tree and suffered major head trauma and needed immediate attention.  The helicopter took the girl to Our Lady of the Lake Hospital in Baton Rouge where she is still listed in critical condition.

The operator of the vessel suffered a broken foot and the other five passengers were treated for minor injuries.

LDWF will be the lead investigative agency for this boating crash incident.  As standard procedure agents took blood from the operator to determine if the operator was impaired.  It takes up to four weeks to receive the blood test results from the lab.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at 225-765-2465 or aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

Region 4 Boating Course

Date: 
Saturday, July 26, 2014
Address: 

LDWF New Iberia Office
2415 Darnell Road
New Iberia, LA 70517

City: 
New Iberia
Notes: 

8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Louisiana Safe Boating Week Set For May 18-24

Release Date: 05/16/2013

To view boating safety videos about proper personal flotation device (PFD) wear for youths and PFD regulations, please visit www.wlf.louisiana.gov/enforcement.

May 16, 2013 -- Louisiana is once again participating in the national "Safe Boating Week" that is scheduled for May 18-24 and signifies the beginning of the spring and summer boating season.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) will again be reminding all boaters to be safe, responsible and knowledgeable while on the water during this safe boating week.  Safe Boating Week is a time for all boaters to inspect their vessels to ensure that all required safety equipment is on board and that vessels are in good working condition.

LDWF Enforcement Division agents will be out in full force as always during the week to perform boating safety checks and driving or operating a vessel while intoxicated (DWI) patrols.  Each vessel should have enough personal flotation devices (PFD) on board for all occupants and a sober operator.

"Personal flotation devices are made to be worn and not sit in a vessel storage compartment.  Even if you consider yourself to be a strong swimmer, we (LDWF) still encourage everyone on a boat to wear a personal flotation device whenever the boat is in motion," said LDWF Boating Safety Officer Capt. Rachel Zechenelly.  “A personal flotation device on a boat should be treated the same as a seatbelt in a car, because they are both easy to use and are proven to save lives."

LDWF boating incident statistics indicate that 15 out of the 25 boating fatalities in 2012 officially listed drowning as the cause of death.  LDWF regulations state that anyone 16 years of age and younger must wear a PFD while underway in vessels less than 26 foot long.  For more boating and PFD regulations, please visit www.wlf.louisiana.gov/boating.

Alcohol use is another leading cause of boating crash incidents and fatalities on the water.  Alcohol consumption impairs a boater's judgment, balance, vision and reaction time.  Alcohol also increases fatigue and susceptibility to hypothermia.  Intensifying the effects of alcohol are sun, wind, noise, vibration and movement, which are all common to boating activities.

The penalties for DWI on the water are the same as on the road.  Anyone cited for a DWI on the water or on the road will lose his or her driver's license and boating privileges for the specified time ordered by the judge in the case.  Also, each offense of operating a vehicle or vessel while intoxicated counts toward the total number of DWI crimes whether they happened on the water or road.

In Louisiana a DWI can be issued to anyone operating a moving vessel or vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher.  First offense DWI on the water or on the road carries a $300 to $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail.  Second offense DWI brings a $750 to $1,000 fine and between 30 days and six months in jail.  Third offense DWI carries a $5,000 fine and between one and five years in jail.  Again, every DWI offense is also subject to a suspension of driving a vehicle and operating a boat privileges.

"One of the best parts of our job is to see people utilize Louisiana's waterways for recreation in accordance to the boating safety regulations and return home safely to loved ones.  However, the worst part of our job is to search for deceased bodies and notify family members of their loss," said LDWF Lt. Col. Jeff Mayne, the State Boating Law Administrator.  "The two ways to make boating safe, fun and a memorable experience is to have a sober operator and to have everyone wear a personal flotation device when the vessel is underway."

LDWF also wants to remind anybody born after Jan. 1, 1984 that they are required to successfully complete a National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) boating education course to operate a motorboat over 10 horsepower.  LDWF offers these classes free of charge statewide.  For a list of courses, please visit www.wlf.louisiana.gov/boating/courses.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at aeinck@wlf.la.gov or 225-765-2465.

Third Annual "Boating Education Lagniappe Day" Slated for May 11

Release Date: 04/18/2013

April 18, 2013 - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) will be hosting the third annual "Boating Education Lagniappe Day" on May 11 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at eight different locations across the state.

During Boating Education Lagniappe Day, LDWF will provide instructors for the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) boating education course, NASBLA boating education certification, food and drinks, giveaways and door prizes all free of charge to the public.

Interested participants must register by visiting www.wlf.louisiana.gov/lagniappeday and calling the contact number listed for the chosen class.  LDWF urges the public to register quickly as most places have limited spaces available and registration is on a first come first serve basis.

LDWF has certified 493 boaters from the previous two Boating Education Lagniappe Days.

"Boating Education Lagniappe Day is the perfect opportunity for those in need of a boating education certification and those that want to learn about boating safety,” said LDWF Lt. Col. Jeff Mayne, the State's Boating Law Administrator.  “We want to make the day fun and educational at the same time and everything will be offered completely free."

Anybody born after Jan. 1, 1984 must complete a NASBLA approved boating education course and carry proof of completion to operate a motorboat in excess of 10 horsepower.

The course includes information on choosing a boat, classification, hulls, motors, legal requirements and equipment requirements.  The course also covers many navigation rules and charts, trailering, sailboats, canoeing, personal watercraft and more.  Completion of the course will result in the student being issued a vessel operators certification card.

Studies have shown that states with a mandatory boating education program have fewer boating incidents that result in fatalities than states that have no boating education program.  States with a boating education program for more than 20 years had 3.67 fatalities per 100,000 registered boats, and states with no boating education program had 6.61 fatalities per 100,000 boats.

LDWF initiated the state's boating education program in 2003 and has certified over 50,000 boaters during that time.

"Boating education has been a proven method to reduce fatalities on the water over time," said Capt. Rachel Zechenelly, LDWF's Boating Safety Coordinator.  "Since more and more of the boating public will fall into the mandatory age for certification, we will eventually reach a point where everyone that wants to boat in this state will have their boating education certificate making the waterways more enjoyable and safer."

Sponsors for the Boating Education Lagniappe Day are the Louisiana Wildlife Agents Association, Academy Sports and Outdoors, Pizza Hut, Cabela's, Songy’s Sporting Goods of Houma, South Louisiana Bank of Houma, Evergreen Cajun Center of Houma, St. Landry Lumber Company, Louisiana Waterway Safety Inc., Krispy Kreme of Metairie, Village Inn Restaurant, C&M Fuel/Team Lafitte Harbor, West Marine of Lakeview, Boat Stuff, Alario Bros. Marine Supply, Temento's Dive Shop and Puglia's Sporting Goods.

Below is the list of class locations and the registration contact information:

Bossier City
Academy Sports and Outdoors
2801 Beene Blvd.
Bossier City, LA 71111
Call the Minden Office at 318-371-3049 to register.

West Monroe
Academy Sports and Outdoors
111 Constitution Dr.
West Monroe, LA 71292
Call the Monroe Office at 318-362-3102 to register.

Alexandria
Academy Sports and Outdoors
3205 S. MacArthur Dr.
Alexandria, LA 71301
Call the Pineville Office at 318-487-5634 to register.

Opelousas
St. Landry Lumber Company
207 North Railroad Ave.
Opelousas, LA 70570
Call the Opelousas Office at 337-948-0257 to register.

Lake Charles
Lake Charles Civic Center - Contraband Room
900 Lakeshore Drive
Lake Charles, LA 70601
Call the Lake Charles Office at 337-491-2580 or 337-491-2588 to register.

Houma
Evergreen Cajun Center
4694 Main St.
Houma, LA 70360
Call the Thibodaux Office at 985-447-0821 to register.

Gonzales
Cabela's
2200 W. Cabela's Pkwy.
Gonzales, LA 70737
Call the Baton Rouge Office at 225-765-2999 to register.

Westwego
Bayou Segnette State Park Nature Center
7777 Westbank Expressway
Westwego, LA 70094
Call the New Orleans Office at 504-284-2023 to register.

For more information on boating education courses, please visit www.wlf.louisiana.gov/boating/courses.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at 225-765-2465 or aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

Region 3 Boating Course

Date: 
Saturday, September 20, 2014
Address: 

Concordia Parish Training Center
Firing Range Road, Hwy. 15
Ferriday, LA

City: 
Ferriday
Notes: 

9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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