Fatalities on Louisiana’s waterways are well above what they were at this time last year, as 7 people died in boating accidents in September alone. Adam Einck with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says there have been 22 deaths so far this year, compared to only 13 through September of last year. He says they’ve noticed some consistencies in all the fatalities they’ve investigated.

“Everybody that we’re recovering from the water has not been wearing a personal floatation device, and we try to stress it a lot just to have people wear their life jackets while they’re on the water,” Einck said.

Einck says LDWF conducts boating safety patrols on the waterways to make sure everyone is wearing a life jacket and that the operator is sober. He encourages anyone who is going out on the water to make a plan with your loved ones and always bring your cell phone.

“Let people know where you’re going to be and what time you plan on being home. That way in case you don’t make it home at the time that you’re supposed to be, people can try to get in contact with you,” Einck said.

LDWF has investigated 110 boating crashes so far this year, 12 of which happened in September. Einck says a lot of last month’s accidents involved boaters hitting something in the water. He says it’s important to always be aware of your surroundings.

“They’re all going at a high rate of speed. So if you’re unsure of where you’re at or if it’s at nighttime, just monitor your speeds,” Einck said.

Einck says people throughout the state can register for free boating safety courses at wlf.la.gov.