Boating Safety in Louisiana

Governor Bobby Jindal recently signed House Bill 291 into law, prohibiting underage drinking in waterways. The new law also increases fines for the careless operation of a watercraft and imposes penalties for flight from an officer on water.

Until this legislation, uncertainty existed as to whether the State’s underage drinking prohibitions applied to waterways. According to the bill’s authors, the legislation is now clear: A person must be 21 to consume alcoholic beverages on a boat.

The same bill also rewrote the state’s law regarding the careless operation of a watercraft. The new law requires a watercraft’s operator to issue warning signals in fog or bad weather, to operate the boat at reasonable speeds and to maintain a proper lookout. Violations of the law may result in up to a $300 fine, 30 days in prison, or both.

It is important for all individuals who operate boats to understand these new rules. Tragically, negligent behavior in waterways can result in serious injuries or even death. If you or a loved one was injured from a person’s reckless operation of a watercraft, you may have legal rights. For questions, contact Broussard & David at 1-888-337-2323 (toll free) or 337-233-2323 (local).