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Contact:  Jay Culotta
Public Affairs Officer – Flotilla 42, District 8CR


May 4, 2010


Citations coming soon to a waterway near you!

By Jay Culotta
Flotilla 42, District 8CR USCG AUX

Instructors from the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 42 (Northlake) will conduct an “About Boating Safely” course from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Madisonville Town Hall on Saturday, May 8, 2010. Cost for the class is $30.00 at the door or $25.00 if registered before the class date.

Beginning July 1, 2010 marine law enforcement agencies (U.S. Coast Guard, La. Dept. of Wildlife & Fisheries and local agencies) will begin issuing citations for violation of the Louisiana law passed last year.

This law states: “No person born after January 1, 1984, shall operate a motorboat powered by a motor in excess of ten horsepower unless he has successfully completed a boating safety class approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA).  A person who has completed an approved boating safety class shall be in possession of evidence of such completion when operating such a boat.”

Estimates are that about 8,000 residents of the Northshore still need to complete an approved course before July 1st.  This law also applies to operators of PWCs or Personal Water Craft (otherwise known as jet-skis). However, no person under the age of 16 may operate a PWC at any time.

The need for this class is critical in Louisiana, which ranks fourth in the nation in total boating (and fatal) accidents, only behind California, Florida and Texas. In 2008, there were 39 fatal boating accidents, more than one every two weeks. However, this course is not just for beginners. Experienced boaters, no matter how many years they have been boating, will learn things they did not know. Statistics show that most of the people killed in boating accidents are between 26 and 50 years of age with over 500 hours of boating time, were in calm water and had clear weather conditions, with alcohol being a factor in over half of the fatal accidents.

This boating safety class will give operators the knowledge needed to obtain a boat license or safety certification in many states, including Louisiana. In addition, many boat insurance companies will offer discounts (up to 20%) on boating insurance to those who successfully complete this course.

Among the many topics covered are how to know where you should be in relation to other vessels and which vessel has the right of way; how to read buoys and understand many navigation rules; proper use of navigation lights and anchors; how to safely fuel, load and unload your vessel; what to do in an emergency and how to summon help; proper use of fire extinguishers and flares; and many other skills needed by boaters on the waterways.

Further details and registration are at About Boating Safely. Since class space is limited, pre-registration is highly encouraged. If you pre-register and are unable to attend the class, you will be able to attend another date in 2010 without penalty.

Help the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary improve recreational boating safety and the life you save might be your own. The fine is estimated at $50 and you still will have to take a course, so would you rather pay $80 with the ticket or $30 without the ticket?

See our calendar for other dates and locations at 2010 Calendar.


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