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Cause of most fatal boating accidents in Louisiana is alcohol use

Penalties for drunk driving a boat are similar to those involving a car or truck. According to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Law Enforcement Division, every weekend many boaters are found to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Officials arrest these intoxicated boaters to try to prevent offshore injuries.

A sergeant with LDWF stated that boating while drunk puts the life of the boat operator and all who come in contact with him or her at risk for injury. The officer stated that intoxication slows down a person's motor skills, balance and judgment. Alcohol is reported to be the leading contributing factor in recreational boating accidents. If this is the case, fatal boating accidents can be easily prevented.

A national campaign to reduce accidents related to drunk boaters has gotten the attention of maritime law enforcement agents who will be stepping up patrol of lakes, bays and rivers, tracking people who are boating while under the influence to arrest them. It is hoped that this campaign will reduce boating accidents related to alcohol and other substance abuse. The campaign started nearly 5 years ago, when the percentage of boating fatalities involving alcohol was 19 percent and gradually decreased to 17 percent nationwide over the years. The LDWF stated that, last year, 20 percent of boating accidents in Louisiana were related to alcohol.

Boating accidents often involve more than one boat, and may lead to serious injuries or possible drowning. Injured boaters may require medical treatment and might miss work due to injury or necessary treatment. Some boating accidents may lead to loss of a loved one, causing the family emotional pain along with financial responsibilities. When a boating accident is caused by a reckless boat driver, the victim may claim compensation for the losses with the help of a Lake Charles maritime attorney.

Source: KATC.com, "Law enforcement cracking down on boater DWIs," Kari Beal, June 26, 2014

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