ST. TAMMANY PARISH, LA (WVUE) - As the fourth of July weekend kicks off, so do one of the busiest boating weekends of the year. And the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office Marine Unit was making sure boaters were off to a safe start today.
Brian Cook and his family are getting ready for a weekend out on the water. But with some important cargo on board, Cook says he's already gone down his checklist to make sure everyone will stay safe.
"I have all my Coast Guard requirements I have the life jackets fire extinguisher float cushion all my safety gear everything on my boat I'm good to go," he said
Those are the kinds of things the STPSO Marine Unit will be looking for this weekend.
Cpt. Scott Lee says there are more than 270 navigable miles of waterway in St. Tammany Parish, and they work just as they would a roadway.
"Boating under the influence is against the law no different than operating a vehicle," he said. "A boat is a vehicle and you can and will be dealt with accordingly."
Lee says unfortunately most of the boating accidents that happen aren't on clear, sunny days.
He adds that's why it's so important to try and educate people now before the busy boating season to make sure people stay as safe as they can on the water.
"We're not out looking to get anyone in trouble we're out to cause awareness to safety sake of everyone to enjoy a safe holiday weekend with their families this is by no means any attempt to go out and ruin anyone's good time," Lee said.
Most people out on the water know the stops are for safety purposes, because the best way to enjoy a holiday weekend is putting safety first.
Louisiana boating laws require anyone born after January 1, 1984 to complete a boating education course, and carry those credentials while on the boat.