Authorities patrolling waters for July 4 boating safety

WESTWEGO, LA (WVUE) - While boaters are out enjoying the water this July Fourth, officers from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries are out too. They're making sure people on the water are staying safe.

"We're making our boating safety stops, making sure people have their PFD's, they're properly fitted and sized, making sure people are acting responsibly and acting safe on the water," said Lt. Jason Russo with the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

Officers check that each boat has enough life jackets for everyone on board,  as well as a fire extinguisher and flotation ring. Children under 17 also need to wear a life vest at all times.

"Most boating fatalities occur because of drowning and nearly all drowning can be prevented from wearing PFD," said Russo

But one of the biggest things, officers will be checking for is drinking while boating.

"It's not tolerated to drink alcohol and operate a vessel," said Russo.

In the state of Louisiana, a DWI on the water is the same as a DWI behind the wheel. A boating DWI could also mean you lose your license on the road.

Last week, the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries took part in 'Operation Dry Water,' a nationwide effort to cut down on those boating while impaired.

It's just another reminder to boaters that safety is the number one priority.

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