LAFAYETTE, La. (KPEL News) - It's National Safe Boating Week (May 20-26) and Louisiana boating officials want you to enjoy the state's waterways in a safe and responsible way.

According to information provided on the Safe Boating Council website, the Coast Guard counted 4,439 accidents that involved 658 deaths and 2,641 injuries in 2021. And, just like on the roadways, many accidents can be prevented. 

One thing you can do is wear what I call the seat belt of boats: your life jacket. According to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, 22 of the 29 people who died on state waterways were not wearing a personal floatation device.

Another safety measure you can take: be aware of how deep the water is you want to dive into. According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, diving into water causes causes an estimated 11,000 spinal cord injuries a year.

There's a common boating practice, though, that can be just as fatal for boaters deciding to do it, and costly for the driver who allows someone to do it.

Louisiana Department Of Wildlife and Fisheries
Louisiana Department Of Wildlife and Fisheries Facebook

Last year, KPEL News reported on a tragic Fourth of July holiday for one Louisiana teen who was killed while riding on a pontoon boat down the Blind River and the driver was hit with a slew of charges. According to Louisiana Radio Network, witnesses told Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries agents 17-year-old Madison Bradley of Slidell was riding in front of the protective railing of the boat. Unfortunately, when another boat came by with a big wake the pontoon boat hit the wake and the impact knocked the girl into the water. Then, as LDWF spokesperson Adam Einck pointed out, the boat ran over her and inflicted prop injuries on her.

You get knocked off that boat for any reason you’re not going to have enough time to react and the boat’s going to drive over on top of you," explains LDWF spokesperson Adam Einck to LRN as he warns against riding in front of the protective railing of a boat. "Then you have the potential to hit the prop, which could be a fatal accident. And in this case, that’s exactly what happened.

Madison Bradley was the 20th boating fatality in 2022.

What about the driver?

Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office, google street view
Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office, google street view

33-year-old David Crowe of Denham Springs was booked into the Livingston Parish Jail and was charged with the following:

  • Vehicular Homicide
  • DWI
  • Reckless Operation

As the driver, the law deems Crowe responsible for allowing passengers to ride in front of the protective rail.

So, if someone you know is riding irresponsibly, just remember that it can lead to death or to jail time.

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