Boating

LDWF Agents Conduct Successful Search and Rescue Mission

Release Date: 11/20/2018

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents performed a successful search and rescue mission of an overdue boater in Cameron Parish.

Agents received information about a kayaker that was overdue on the afternoon of Nov. 18 on the Sabine National Wildlife Refuge (NWR).  LDWF agents immediately conducted a search of the area and were able to find the missing 38-year-old Lake Charles resident around 9 a.m. on Nov. 19.

The man was found about a mile from the place he launched his kayak.  According to the kayaker, he went out duck hunting on the morning of Nov. 18 when he got lost and couldn’t find his way back to the launch.  He attempted to call for help but was unable to get service on his cell phone.

Agents were able to retrieve the man and his kayak and get him back to the launch where an ambulance transported him to the Cal Cam Hospital in Sulphur for treatment of mild hypothermia.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Coast Guard and Cameron Parish Sheriff’s Office also participated in the search.

LDWF Agents Investigating Fatal Boating Incident in Orleans Parish

Release Date: 11/18/2018

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents are investigating a fatal boating incident in Orleans Parish.

The bodies of Levi Slaughter Jr., 87, and his son Levi Slaughter III, 62, both of New Orleans, were recovered on Nov. 18 from Lake Pontchartrain.

Agents were notified about 2:45 p.m. on Nov. 18 of an unmanned 19-foot boat near Irish Bayou in Lake Pontchartrain.  LDWF agents along with the New Orleans Police Department and U.S. Coast Guard immediately conducted a search for the missing boaters.

First responders found the bodies near the unmanned vessel about 8:15 p.m.  According to family, the Slaughters had left to go fishing around 8 a.m. that morning.  It is unknown at this time what caused the men to enter the water.

LDWF will be the lead investigative agency for this fatal boating incident.  Both men were found without wearing personal flotation devices.  The bodies were turned over to the Orleans Parish Coroner’s Office to determine a cause of death.

LDWF Agents Rescue Father and Son in Vermilion Bay

Release Date: 11/05/2018

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) enforcement agents performed a successful search and rescue mission on Nov. 3 in Vermilion Bay.

LDWF agents were notified about two overdue boaters on board a vessel about 9 p.m. on Nov. 3.  The missing boaters were a 57-year-old father and his 10-year-old son both from Erath.

LDWF agents immediately began conducting search and rescue efforts in conjunction with U.S. Coast Guard and the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office to locate the missing boaters.

LDWF agents located the missing boat with both boaters safely inside the vessel on Nov. 4 around 1:25 a.m.  LDWF loaded the father and son onto their vessel and transported the boaters back to the dock where they were evaluated by Emergency Medical Services and released to go home.

Agents found out that the boat battery died leaving the two boaters in need of assistance.

Commission Adopts Notice of Intent for Registration of Houseboats

Release Date: 10/15/2018

The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission (LWFC) approved a notice of intent that would establish rules governing the registration of houseboats.

Act 628 of the 2018 Regular Legislative Session requires the registration of houseboats upon Louisiana waters beginning Jan. 1, 2019.  The proposed rule clarifies which vessels qualify as houseboats requiring registration and establishes an application process.

The notice of intent states that every houseboat operated, occupied, inhabited, utilized, or otherwise deployed on the waters of this state must be registered with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) and be properly numbered in accordance with R.S. 34:851.20.

Houseboats would be defined as any vessel constructed or utilized for the primary purpose of a temporary or permanent dwelling without an effective means of propulsion for safe navigation.

When determining whether a vessel meets the definition of a “houseboat”, the department shall utilize the standard such that a reasonable observer would conclude that the vessel is capable of being used as an abode, habitation, or dwelling for at least a temporary basis.

Such determination should involve, but is not limited to, whether the vessel has a roof and is enclosed, or has multiple walls or structures capable of protecting inhabitants from the elements.

Additional evidence that may be considered include the presence of doors, windows, electrical wiring, plumbing, appliances, cabinetry, bedding, or any other features commonly found in a dwelling. 

While registration of houseboats is mandatory beginning in 2019, titling of houseboats is optional.

Public comment on this notice of intent may be submitted to Major Rachel Zechenelly at rzechenelly@wlf.la.gov.

LDWF Agent Honored with Boating Award at Commission Meeting

Release Date: 09/10/2018

Sgt. Austin Arteaga receives award from Major Rachel Zechenelly

A Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agent was awarded the Louisiana’s National Association of State Boating Law Administrator’s (NASBLA) “Boating Law Enforcement Officer of the Year” for Louisiana.

Sgt. Austin Arteaga, of Slidell, received the NASBLA award at the monthly Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission meeting on Sept. 6 in Baton Rouge.

Sgt. Arteaga has been an LDWF agent for over 10 years and he mainly patrols the waterways in southeastern Louisiana including Lake Pontchartrain, the Mississippi Sound, the Gulf of Mexico, and Lake Borgne.

“Sgt. Arteaga is well deserving for this safe boating award as he consistently leads his district in boating safety enforcement and is always working to detect impaired boaters,” said Major Rachel Zechenelly, the states boating law administrator.  “He has always taken pride in teaching the Louisiana Boating Education course and is very professional as lead investigator for fatal boating incidents.”

Sgt. Arteaga has distinguished himself by becoming a NASBLA Boating Program Instructor and a Louisiana Boating Education Course Instructor for the department.  Since 2013, he has trained enforcement cadet classes in the NASBLA Boat Crew Member course (BCM) and the Boat Operations/Search and Rescue Course (BOSAR).

Sgt. Arteaga is also an instructor in the more advanced NASBLA Tactical Boat Operators Course (TOC) and the NASBLA Pursuit and Stop (PAS) course.

Elmer's Island to Close at 9:00 a.m. September 4

Release Date: 09/03/2018

 

LDWF Agents Investigating Fatal Boating Incident in Iberia Parish

Release Date: 08/13/2018

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents are investigating a single fatal boating incident that occurred on Aug. 11 in Iberia Parish.

The body of Leonard Norbert Jr., 58, of New Iberia, was recovered from Mud Lake around 9:50 p.m. on Aug. 11.

LDWF agents along with the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office were alerted around 6:40 p.m. by two fishermen that found an unmanned aluminum boat and a fishing pole nearby in the water.

LDWF will be the lead investigative agency for this fatal boating incident.  Norbert’s body was found near the unmanned boat without a personal flotation device.

It is unknown at this time how Norbert entered the water.  His body was turned over to the Iberia Parish Coroner’s Office to determine an official cause of death.

Body of Ponchatoula Man Recovered from Lake Pontchartrain

Release Date: 08/12/2018

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents are investigating a single fatal boating incident that occurred on Lake Pontchartrain on Aug. 11 in Tangipahoa Parish.

The body of Milton B. Gomez, 66, of Ponchatoula, was recovered around 7:15 p.m. by authorities about a mile south of where the Tangipahoa River feeds into Lake Pontchartrain.

Agents were alerted around 2:30 p.m. on Aug. 11 about an unmanned 17-foot aluminum vessel in Lake Pontchartrain.  LDWF agents along with the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Coast Guard participated in the search.

LDWF will be the lead investigative agency for this fatal boating incident.  It is unknown at this time how Gomez entered the water.  Gomez’s body was found without a personal flotation device.

Gomez’s body was turned over to the Tangipahoa Parish Coroner’s Office to determine an official cause of death.

LDWF Agents Participating in Operation Dry Water This Weekend

Release Date: 06/28/2018

LDWF Agents Participating in Operation Dry Water This Weekend

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Law Enforcement Division (LDWF/LED) agents will take part in Operation Dry Water from June 29 to July 1.

During the Operation Dry Water weekend, LDWF agents will be out in force patrolling state waterways for impaired boat operators.

“We are always on the lookout for impaired boat operators, but this weekend it will be more of a focused effort.  We are in full support of this national campaign and will do our part in removing impaired operators from the waterways this weekend,” said Major Rachel Zechenelly, the state’s boating law administrator.  “We know this will be a busy weekend and we want people to have fun on the waterways.  However, we please ask everybody on the water to wear a personal flotation device and have a sober operator.”

Alcohol can impair a boater’s judgment, balance, vision and reaction time.  It can increase fatigue and susceptibility to the effects of cold-water immersion.  Sun, wind, noise, vibration and motion intensify the side effects of alcohol, drugs and some prescription medications.

Alcohol is the leading known contributing factor in fatal boating incidents.  Louisiana had 19 boating fatalities in 2017, with alcohol playing a role in three fatalities or 16 percent.  Nationwide, statistics from 2017 reveal that 19 percent of all boat incident fatalities listed alcohol as a contributing factor.

Impaired boaters caught this weekend can expect penalties to be severe.  In Louisiana, a DWI on the water carries the same penalties and fines as on the road and includes jail time, fines and loss of driving and boating operator privileges.

Anyone cited for a DWI on the water or on the road will lose his or her driver's license and boating privileges for the specified time ordered by the judge in the case.  Also, each offense of operating a vehicle or vessel while intoxicated counts toward the total number of DWI crimes whether they happened on the water or road.

In Louisiana a DWI can be issued to anyone operating a moving vessel or vehicle while impaired.  First offense DWI carries a $300 to $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail.

Operation Dry Water was started in 2009 and is a joint program involving the LDWF/LED, the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) and the U.S. Coast Guard.  More information is available at www.operationdrywater.org.

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