Sheriff’s water patrol team offers safe boating guidelines
Hunting season has begun and with it an increase in activity on the waterways of St. Mary Parish.
To help ensure that boaters return home safely, the St. Mary Parish Water Patrol Search and Rescue urges the public to take the time to prepare before launch and to practice proper boating procedures while on the water.
The St. Mary Parish Water Patrol Search and Rescue team patrols parish waterways and provide aid to boaters in distress. The division is also experienced in criminal investigation and is tasked with solving crimes that may occur on the water.
Even the most experienced boaters, those who have lived and worked on the water all their lives, are not immune to mishaps. South Louisiana may be a sportsman’s paradise but boating conditions can change quickly. Don’t be caught unprepared. Complete a boating checklist before leaving the landing.
—Don’t just bring personal flotation devices, wear them. It’s the law and it could save your life. For more information on what type of PFD is required for your personal watercraft as well as other state law requirements for boating, such as registration, visit the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries website at:
—Know the area in which you are boating and bring a map or GPS.
—Carry enough gas to get there and back.
—Be aware of weather conditions including tidal activity, wind and what time sunset occurs.
—Bring a cellphone. While the signal may not be strong enough for a phone call often times text messages will go through.
—Let someone know where you’re going, when you’re going, and when you will return. Don’t change the plan without letting that someone know.
—Always have extra food, water, and supplies on hand.
Boaters should be aware that even Water Patrol is limited in its ability to perform search and rescue operations in bad weather conditions. Don’t get stuck by an event that could have been prevented. If you do find yourself in need of rescue, know that the priority for Water Patrol is the people on board.