Independence Day falls on a Monday this year and, with most of us being cooped up for the past year, many can't wait to be out on the water this weekend.

Three days of celebrating our nation's independence while fishing, boating, skiing, knee-boarding, and, for many, drinking.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has announced that its officers will be out in full force this holiday weekend to enforce our state's OWI laws.

Operation Dry Water is a national campaign to remind people that it's not only a bad idea to boat while under the influence, but it's also illegal.

KPLC

In 2020, the United States Coast Guard reported 5,265 boating accidents across the US and its properties. As a result of those accidents, over $62,000,000.00 worth of damage was reported, with 3,191 injuries and nearly 800 deaths. These numbers represent approximately a 25% increase over the 2019 statistics.

Other 2020 statistics of note:

  • Collisions with other recreational vessels hold the top spot as the most common type of accident. These crashes also cause the most injuries.
  • The majority of the fatal accidents happened in vessels 21 feet long or smaller.
  • The majority of the fatal accidents involved vessels operated by individuals who had not received proper boating safety instruction/training.
  • The majority of the fatal accident deaths were due to drowning.
  • The majority of the drowning deaths involved boaters who were not wearing life jackets.
  • The leading known contributing factor in the cause of the fatal accidents? Alcohol use.

Agents from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries will be on the water this weekend to keep me safe from you, to keep you safe from me, and to keep us safe from ourselves.

Townsquare Media/ Southside Park boat launch (Photo by Julie Hebert)

Before you take to the water this weekend (or ANY time), always have a sober person operating the vessel, have the required/recommended safety equipment aboard (and in working condition), have valid registration/proof of insurance paperwork, and always boat responsibly.

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