Boating

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.

Federal Funding Available to Accommodate Transient Boaters in Louisiana

Release Date: 06/21/2018

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is now accepting applications for the Sport Fish Restoration Boating Infrastructure Grant Program (BIG Program). The United States Fish and Wildlife Service designed this grant program to provide mooring accommodations for transient recreational boaters (i.e., boaters traveling to a single facility for day use or staying at a single facility for up to 15 days) with vessels greater than 26 feet in length.  

There are two levels of available funding - Tier I with a maximum of $200,000 and Tier II with a maximum of $1.5 million dollars. Tier II grant applications are nationally competitive.  Both funding opportunities have a minimum non-federal match requirement of 25 percent of the total project cost to be provided by the applicant. All project elements must be designed to accommodate recreational transient boaters.  More information on the BIG Program can be found here.

Applications for the BIG Program must be received by LDWF before August 3, 2018, to be considered for the current funding cycle.  

For questions or to request an application, please contact Melissa Longman at mlongman@wlf.la.gov or 225-765-2343.  

LDWF Investigating Fatal Boating Incident in St. Martin Parish

Release Date: 06/08/2018

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents are investigating a single vessel fatality in St. Martin Parish on June 7.

LDWF agents recovered the body of Robert L. Julien Jr., 46, of Opelousas, from the water near the Butte La Rose boat launch near Interstate 10 around 5:30 p.m. on June 7.

Agents received a call about a missing boater around 5 p.m. on June 7.  According to a witness, Julien Jr. was attempting to load his personal watercraft onto a trailer when he fell into the water and never resurfaced.

LDWF will be the lead investigative agency for this boating incident.  Julien Jr.’s body was turned over to the St. Martin Parish Coroner’s Office to determine an official cause of death.  His body was found without a personal flotation device.

150 Boaters Certified During "Boating Education Lagniappe Day"

Release Date: 04/24/2018

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) certified 150 boaters statewide after their eighth annual "Boating Education Lagniappe Day" on April 21.

Boating Education Lagniappe Day was at eight locations across the state and consisted of the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) boating education course, food and drinks, giveaways and door prizes all free of charge to the public.

The NASBLA safe boating certification is mandatory for anybody born after Jan. 1, 1984 who wants to operate a motorboat in excess of 10 horsepower.

The NASBLA approved course includes information on choosing a boat, classification, hulls, motors, legal requirements and equipment requirements.  The course also covers many navigation rules and charts, trailering, sailboats, canoeing, personal watercraft and more.  Each student received that completed the course was issued a vessel operators certification card.

To register for a future boating education class please visit www.wlf.louisiana.gov/boating/courses and follow the links to register.

Below was the list of class locations for lagniappe day:

Webster Parish
LDWF Region 1 Office
9961 Hwy. 80
Minden, LA 71055
Sponsors include Red River Waterway Commission, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Bayou Bodcau Office, Bass Pro Shop of Bossier City, and The Boat Shop in Shreveport.

Ouachita Parish
Academy Sports and Outdoors
111 Constitution Dr.
West Monroe, LA 71292
Sponsors include Academy Sports and Outdoors and Johnny’s Pizza House.

Avoyelles Parish
Cottonport Bank Camp
1055 Old River Road
Mansura, LA 71350
Sponsors include Cottonport Bank, Avoyelles Parish School Board, Ronald and Faye Coco, and the Louisiana Wildlife Agent’s Association (LWAA)

Iberia Parish
LDWF New Iberia Field Office
2415 Darnall Rd.
New Iberia, LA 70560
Sponsors include Raising Cane’s and LWAA

Calcasieu Parish
LSU AgCenter
7101 Gulf Hwy.
Lake Charles, LA 70607
Sponsors include Beauregard Chapter of Whitetails Unlimited

Lafourche Parish
St. John Volunteer Fire Department
2429 Parish Rd.
Thibodaux, LA 70301
Sponsors include Renovations Hardware of Galliano and LWAA

Tangipahoa Parish
Manchac Fire Department
30221 Hwy. 51
Akers, LA 70421
Sponsors include LWAA and Manchac Fire Department

St. Tammany Parish
St. Tammany Parish Library Madisonville Branch
1123 Main Street
Madisonville, LA 70447
Sponsors include Raising Cane’s and the LWAA

Louisiana Shrimp Season to Close July 14 in the Majority of Inside Waters

Release Date: 07/10/2017

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries announced the 2017 spring inshore shrimp season will close at 6 p.m. on Friday, July 14 from the Louisiana/Mississippi state line westward to the eastern shore of the Mississippi River and from Freshwater Bayou canal westward to the Louisiana/Texas state line except for the following waters: Lake Pontchartrain, Chef Menteur and Rigolets Passes, Lake Borgne, the Louisiana portion of Mississippi Sound, and the open waters of Breton and Chandeleur Sounds.

For a map detailing these closures please click here.

All state outside waters seaward of the Inside/Outside Shrimp Line, as described in R.S. 56:495 will remain open to shrimping until further notice. 

Data collected in recent weeks by LDWF biologists indicate increased quantity, distribution and percentage of small, juvenile white shrimp within these waters. The decision to close these waters was made to protect these developing shrimp and provide opportunity for growth to larger and more marketable sizes. The areas that remain open will continue to be monitored and will close when the presence of smaller white shrimp make it biologically inappropriate to remain open.  

LDWF would also like to remind shrimpers there is a possession count on saltwater white shrimp taken in either inside or outside (offshore) waters of Louisiana of 100 count (whole shrimp per pound). This size restriction applies to the taking or possession of such shrimp aboard a vessel, EXCEPT from Oct. 15 through the third Monday in December, when there is no possession count on saltwater white shrimp taken or possessed. When more than 50 percent by weight of the saltwater shrimp taken or possessed is seabobs or brown shrimp, then the maximum allowable amount of undersized white shrimp taken or possessed should not exceed 10 percent by weight of the total saltwater shrimp taken or possessed.  If compliance issues develop, remaining open areas can be closed by the Secretary of the Department.

For more information, contact Jeff Marx at (337) 373-0032 or jmarx@wlf.la.gov .

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