NEW ROADS, La. (BRPROUD) – It’s officially the holiday weekend and officials in New Roads expect lots of boaters to take to the water but before making a splash they want to share some friendly reminders when it comes to water safety.
Ryan Bello grew up in New Roads, living life on the water. This Fourth of July weekend, he and many others will be boating and taking in some fun.
“It’s one of my favorite things to do. I’ve been on the water since I was born. Basically, as soon as I could wear a life jacket,” said Bello.
He said, during this weekend there’s always something to do including a water balloon fight between him and his family.
Although there’s a lot of fun to be had, there’s a safe way to do it.
“I have 26 life jackets in this boat at all times for people that get on, I have to keep them safe,” said Bello.
According to local laws, operating a boat is just like driving a car meaning if you’re in violation you could be hit with a ticket or a fine.
“Oh yeah, they can get a DUI,” said Pointe Coupee Sheriff Rene Thibodeaux.
According to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, in 2021 Louisiana has seen 14 fatalities from boating accidents with a third of them involving alcohol.
Thibodeaux said, if you’re going to drink you must have a designated operator.
“They issue tickets if necessary, we don’t want someone that’s drunk operating a boat,” said Thibodeaux.
Operators should also boat at an appropriate speed, be mindful of other watercrafts and follow posted rules.
“We want to party and have a good time, but let’s use our heads and make a very wise decision,” said Thibodeaux.
“It’s what we’ve always done. It’s no big deal right being out here all the time but we love it,” said Bello.