Jun 24, 2010 6:34 PM by Carolyn Cerda
With more boaters out on Acadiana waters, so are patrol agents. And after recent deadly accidents on the waterways, Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries is campaigning this weekend to prevent further deaths.
It's called "Operation Dry Water," and targets impaired boat operators. Last year, there were 32 boating accident deaths in Louisiana, 24% of those, caused by impaired operators. This weekend, officials are increasing patrols and adding checkpoint in hopes of lowering that statistic.
"We're not trying to ruin people's fun," Sgt. Chris Carpenter said. "But, the statistics have told us and showed us, over and over again, that alcohol is the number one contributing factor in recreational boating fatalities."
Boaters who are charged with BUI or BUI refusal not only lose their privileges on the water but also on the road. That means if your boating license in taken away, so will your driver's license.
"If you're going go out on the water, have a designated driver just like you would on the road," Carpenter said.
Enforcement agents will not only be looking for impaired operators, but for any other safety violations. Carpenter says it's an effort to prevent what could be a life or death situation.
"We would much rather arrest them and take them off the water in that fashion than have to call their family and friends and tell them they're never gonna come home again," Carpenter said.
The campaign begins Friday, June 25th and ends Sunday, June 27th. But, Sgt. Carpenter says agents are always working to keep the waters safe.
"There's a zero tolerance for impaired boaters on the water and we will be looking for them."