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Boating safety tips for the upcoming spring and summer

While many states in the country are still covered in snow, Louisiana is warm and sunny. As the spring and summer approach and bring even nicer weather, no doubt residents will be pouring out in droves to partake in one of the state’s favorite pastimes: Boating.

As boating season draws near, it is important to review some fundamental safety tips for boaters and passengers alike. After all, improper safety techniques run the risk of derailing an otherwise fun time on the water—or even causing catastrophic injuries. To ensure you have a fun, safe spring and summer on the water, here are a few need-to-know boating safety reminders.

Never boat while intoxicated

Boating while intoxicated is one of the leading contributors to boating accidents. In Louisiana, it is illegal to operate a boat while under the influence of alcohol, drugs or other controlled substances. When you operate a boat, you are implicitly giving your consent to be tested for drugs and alcohol by law enforcement officers. Boating while intoxicated has severe penalties, including fines, license suspensions and jail time.

Choose the right communication

Boaters sometimes believe that their cellphones will be adequate to call for help in an emergency. In fact, many cellphones lose reception on the water and quickly run out of battery. Boaters should always take a VHF-FM radio as well as a signaling device like a flare, whistle, horn, signal mirror or emergency position-indicating radio beacon.

Create a float plan

A float plan is a plan that you leave for friends, family and law enforcement that provides the details of your boating trip in case a catastrophe prevents you from returning on time. That way, if you encounter danger on the water, your loved ones can provide crucial information to the authorities so that they can help you. A float plan can be as simple or as detailed as you want—and it can mean the difference between life or death.

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