Only 13 boating fatalities were reported in the state for 2013 by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, a record low since boating statistics started being recorded in 1974.
The previous low for boating fatalities was 19 in 1992, according to a press release.
Louisiana averaged 69 boating fatalities a year from 1974-79, 52 a year from 1980-1989, 32 a year from 1990-99 and 37 a year from 2000-09.
Since 2010, the state has averaged 25 boating fatalities a year, including 30 in 2012, 36 in 2011 and 21 in 2010.
“While we are always striving for lower boating incidents and fatalities, we are happy to report this record low for boating fatalities for 2013,” said Col. Jeff Mayne, head of the LDWF enforcement division. “It shows that some of our boating safety initiatives are working and that boaters are doing a great job of adhering to our safe boating regulations.”
LDWF attributes the drop to several factors, including mandatory boater education classes, stricter DWI enforcement and new regulations for wearing a personal flotation device.
“The mandatory boating education course has proven in other states and this one that over time we will have fewer boating crash incidents and fatalities,” said Capt. Rachel Zechenelly, Louisiana’s Boating Law Administrator. “We will eventually reach a point of saturation and every boater in the state will be boating education certified, which can only increase the safety of our waterways.”
The LDWF Boating Safety Program begain mandatory boating safety education in 2003 for anybody born after Jan. 1, 1988 who operates a vessel in excess of 10 horsepower.
In 2010, LDWF worked with the state legislature to make the boating education course mandatory for anybody born after Jan. 1, 1984. Since 2003, LDWF has certified over 50,000 boaters statewide.
For more information on an LDWF-approved boating education course, click here.