It’s called Operation Dry Water and it’s the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries campaign to keep impaired boaters off the water. Boating Education Coordinator Lt Dean Aucoin with LDWF said alcohol is the leading known contributing factor in fatal boating incidents.

“Our agents are out there daily looking for impaired operators. We know that this weekend is going to be a busy boating operating weekend, especially if the weather’s good,” said Aucoin.

Aucoin said if you’re caught impaired while operating a vessel on the water it will also impact your driving privileges on the road.

“In Louisiana, anyone cited with DWI on the water or on the road they’ll lose their driving privileges, boating privileges as well,” said Aucoin.

A judge can revoke your driving privileges for a specified amount of time. A first DWI offense can cost you between $300 and thousand dollars and up to six months in jail.

With extra boaters on the water for the holiday and some staying out after dark to view the fireworks Aucion said you need to have an attentive operator and make sure the safety features of your boat and in operating order.

“If you’re going to go out there boating we want you to be out there, have a good time, have all your safety gear but most importantly if there’s going to be alcohol on the boat, have an operator that’s going to stay sober,” said Aucoin.

Louisiana had 24 boating fatalities in 2020 and so far, this year there have been 14 fatalities. Aucoin said just over 30-percent of the fatalities were alcohol-related.

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