Sheriff Pohlmann reminds residents taking to the waters of St. Bernard to learn and obey the rules of boating safety and be on the lookout for other boats

Posted: June 10th, 2015 | Filed under: News Releases

Fishermen launch their boat in St. Bernard Parish waters.

Fishermen launch their boat in St. Bernard Parish waters.

Speed kills whether on land or water.
With summer fishing and boating in high gear on St. Bernard Parish waterways, Sheriff James Pohlmann is reminding residents the chances for boating accidents and fatalities are higher.

“Be careful, slow down and learn and obey the rules of boating safety if you are going to be on the water,’’ Sheriff Pohlmann said.

“There’s a lot of boats out there right now and you should think in terms of there’s going to be another boat coming in every turn or canal crossing,’’ Sheriff Pohlmann said.

Going too fast to react to a situation is a common cause of boating accidents, he said. “Slow down and pay attention to your surroundings.’’

While some people enjoy an alcohol drink it is important to refrain from overdrinking while operating a boat, the sheriff said. Boaters can be arrested for drinking and driving on a boat just like drivers of a vehicle on land, he said. And alcohol was a primary cause in nearly 25 percent of all fatal boating accidents nationally.
Statistics also show nearly 90 percent of the boating accidents recorded came from boaters who had not successfully completed a safe boating class, the sheriff said.

It is recommended that anyone operating a boat take a boating safety course. Just go online to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries web site and find the education section, which will have a boating safety course that is free.

For a list of state-approved safe boating courses visit:
Capt. Brian Clark, a retired Wildlife and Fisheries agent. heads the Sheriff’s Office Marine Division, which comes under the Special Operation Division commanded by Maj. Mark Poche.

Clark said safety on the water involves many things but foremost should be a standing rule that everyone on board a boat be wearing a personal flotation device. For more on state boating and life jacket regulations visit

“It’s required that children 16 and under wear a flotation device at all times and recommended that adults wear them also,’’ Clark said. Drowning remains the biggest cause of fatalities on the water and a life jacket being worn will save lives, he said.

Some boaters used to resist them because they were bulky and made it hard to get around on a boat, Clark said, but the ones made today are lightweight and easy to use.

Before leaving, Clark said, give a float plan to someone. “Tell someone where you are going and when you are expected back’’ so if you are overdue they can inform authorities.

Besides flotation devices, other basic rules for safety include a thorough check of equipment before taking off and remembering to bring items such as a cell phone and cell phone charger a fire extinguisher, a flashlight, proper clothing, some food and water, a safety kit, a throwable device to aid anyone in the water and sunglasses for glare.
“Don’t let yourself get dehydrated because the sun will take a lot out of you and slow reaction time,’’ Clark said.
And one other check-off, if you have a kill switch on the motor remember to use it if necessary.