Acadiana - It’s spring time and as the weather gets nicer, more people are eager to get back out on the water. But safety should always come first before you head out on the bayou.
"A lot of people think about the activity happening on the water and they’re looking at the recreational. They’re excited to fish, they’re excited to be boating but we want people to start thinking about the things you need to do before you get on the water," said Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Senior Agent Anthony Corner.
Corner says the first safety precaution is knowing your boat before you set sail.
"If your vessel is under 16 [feet], certain rules are basically going to apply to you specifically and if your vessel is between 16 and 26 [feet], an additional set of rules is going to basically apply to you," said Corner.
He also emphasizes the importance of one of the most critical safety precautions, life jackets.
"Life jackets, that’s something we see in all our boating fatalities, life jackets. A lack of life jackets so just make sure you have enough of life jackets for everyone on board," he said.
An often overlooked aspect of boating safety is a float plan, which details your boating trip and can help authorities better locate you in the event of an accident.
"The float plan should detail where you're going, what vessel you’re going to be in, what time you’re expected back and who all is going with you," said Corner.
For nighttime water goers he says with the exception of jet skis, boats are allowed to sail at night provided you have the proper lighting equipped.
"So you have navigation lights on the front, you’re going to have a red and green light. On the back you’re going to have an all around white light," Corner said.
Now in addition to these safety tips Corner says anyone born after January 1,1984 is required to take a boaters education class but encourages everyone regardless of age to enroll in one.
For more information on boater's education classes and other boating safety tips, you can visit the the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries website.