It's been about ten years in the making but the waterways of Louisiana are safer than they have ever been. This past year the state reported only 13 boating fatalities. This was far below the previous low record of 19. Officials with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife attribute the decrease in deadly accidents to one thing, better educated boaters.

In Louisiana, boater education courses are now mandatory and those classes appear to be working to keep us all safe on the water. Louisiana has over 50-thousand certified boaters and that number rises every year. To see a fatality rate of only 13 is quite remarkable, but state officials say until that number is zero their work is not complete.

Studies show that states with mandatory boater education laws have had a vast reduction in the number of fatalities over the past decade.  Adam Einck, a spokesperson for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife said,

"In 2003 we started our mandatory  boating education course. It is a completely free course that we offer to everyone in Louisiana and that course is mandatory to anyone born after 1984,"

Einck made those comments in a story filed by the Louisiana Radio Network. Einck also said that strict enforcement of boating while intoxicated laws has also contributed to the decrease in fatal accidents.The emphasis on the availability and use of personal floatation devices while underway on the water has also been a contributor to the lower number of fatalities.

If you'd like to find out more about boater education courses in your area the Louisiana Department of Wildlife has a schedule posted at their website.