LDWF Urging Boaters to be Aware of Weather Changes While on the Water

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division wants to remind boaters to be mindful of the weather as they plan and carry out their boating excursions.

Louisiana has already seen four fatalities and three rescues so far in 2022 on large lakes where weather and conditions reportedly changed quickly. Vessels were capsized, swamped, or submerged as a result of abrupt weather changes. Boaters should always make themselves and their crew aware of all potential dangers that could occur during an outing.

Before departure, you should always check the Marine forecast to see if there will be any significant changes in weather conditions while you are on the water. Your boat’s size, range, and current running condition should also be taken into account. This and weather reports should help you determine if it is safe to take your boat trip or if you need to make any adjustments.

“It is the responsibility of the operator to decide to continue or make adjustments to the trip,” said Major Clay Marques, the Boating Law Administrator for Louisiana. “No matter the boater’s skill or capability level, weather changes can be rapid and can quickly turn a fun situation into a dangerous one. At the end of the day, we want every boater to enjoy their experience and return home safely.”

If you are on the water and a thunderstorm is approaching, ensure that all occupants are wearing their properly fitted life jackets and head toward the nearest safe shore. Dangerous weather such as strong winds, storms, lighting, and fog can cause dangerous situations even on static waters with little or no current or tide movement.

Various apps are available on most smart phones that can provided warnings of approaching weather and provide you with the best information to make decisions. You can also tune into your VHF radio for alerts.

LDWF agents are tasked with recreational boating safety for the state. Agents encourage all citizens to take the free safe boating education course that is also mandatory for anyone born after Jan. 1, 1984.

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