St. James to offer free boating safety class

Published 11:45 pm Tuesday, July 10, 2012



VACHERIE – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is offering a free boating safety class next month at the St. James Sheriff’s Office Range in Vacherie for all area residents in need of boat safety certification.

St. James Sheriff’s Office Capt. Karl Melancon, who manages the range, said the course will be held Saturday, Aug. 4, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. He said the class is taught by an LDWF agent specializing in boating safety.

“The course includes information on choosing a boat, classification, hulls, motors, legal requirements and equipment requirements,” Melancon said. “It will also cover navigation rules, navigation charts, trailer use, sailboats and related subjects that include canoeing, personal watercraft and more. All who complete the course will be given a vessel operators certification card.”

In 2010, Louisiana boating laws were changed requiring all persons born after Jan. 1, 1984, to complete a boating education course and carry proof of completion to operate a motorboat or personal watercraft in excess of 10 horsepower. The person may operate the boat if accompanied by someone over 18 years of age who if required has completed the course. It is illegal for anyone under the age of 16 years to operate a personal watercraft.

Melancon said LDWF offers courses year-round and added that the Sheriff’s Office tries to hold at least three classes a year since space is limited.

“We take in as many as we can, but we have to cut it off after it gets too crowded,” he said. “Residents are encouraged to register ahead of time.”

To pre-register for the course, call the range at 225-562-2572. Residents may also download the registration form at the St. James Sheriff’s Office website, www., and email it to range@stjames The range is located at 29449 Sheriff’s Range Road in Vacherie.